What is it about?

Overall, patients that are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) experience a variety of health problems, resulting in a decreased health-related quality of life, higher healthcare use and limitations in work participation. This study shows that specifically patients that are unable to reach meaningful recovery during the first year, which was linked to being able to achieve physical functioning scores similar to their healthy age group, are at risk for long term health problems, which result in more visits to healthcare professionals and use of home care. Also, these patients were more often unable to work similar hours as before admission, limiting their ability to participate in society in a meaningful way.

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Why is it important?

By identifying patients that are unable to reach meaningful recovery during the first year after ICU admission, this study was able to map which patients are in need of additional support. Up until now, there are no organised aftercare initiatives that are covered by the health insurance. The findings in this study emphasise the need for tailored after care initiatives to support patients during the recovery period.


In this study, the investigators had the unique opportunity to join ICU survivors in their road to recovery by the extensive follow up design. This provided with valuable insights on what elements are needed to set up aftercare for all ICU patients. In addition, it was remarkable to notice what the impact of a familiar face can be on the experience of the aftercare for the patient and their informal caregivers. In the current healthcare system, it is not possible for them to meet with one dedicated person from ICU admission until they are back in their home environment. This sort of case management would be a valuable option when it comes to supporting them in this journey.

Lise Beumeler
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Long-term health-related quality of life, healthcare utilisation and back-to-work activities in intensive care unit survivors: Prospective confirmatory study from the Frisian aftercare cohort, PLoS ONE, September 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273348.
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