Original Articles

Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 218-223

First online:

Quality of life following intensive care

  • Donald L. PatrickAffiliated withthe Department of Social and Administrative Medicine (DLP), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • , Marion DanisAffiliated withthe Department of Medicine (MD, LID), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • , Leslie I. SoutherlandAffiliated withthe Department of Medicine (MD, LID), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • , Guiyoung HongAffiliated withthe Department of Psychology (GH), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Evaluations of intensive care have largely focused on survival, cost, or functional status; however, these may not be the only outcomes of interest to patients, families, and health care providers. Quality of life is an important consideration in evaluating intensive care because it influences decisions about the use of life-sustaining treatment. A study was conducted to assess the quality of life of survivors of intensive care to determine the relationship of perceived quality of life to other outcomes of intensive care. Patients at least 55 years old who received medical intensive care during 1983 (n=69) were interviewed to determine social characteristics, functional status, psychological well-being, and their perceived quality of life using a new 11-item Perceived Quality of Life scale. Functional status correlated only moderately with perceived quality of life (r=0.49, p=0.0001). Objective measures of patients’ material and social resources did not predict satisfaction. To evaluate outcome adequately, it is necessary to assess perceptions of life quality from patients who have received life-sustaining treatment.

Key words

quality of life intensive care critical care health status aged ethics