Quality of life outcomes after intensive care
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Objective: Compare the health related quality of life of intensive care patients with a community sample. Design: Self-completed questionnaire posted to a consecutive sample of 238 patients 16 months after discharge from an intensive care unit (ICU) and to a random community sample (n = 242). Setting: The Liverpool Hospital is the main referral and teaching hospital in a community of 620,000 people. It has a ten-bed general ICU. Patients and participants: All patients admitted to the ICU over 8 months with a length of stay ≥ 24 h and a sample drawn from the community telephone directory. Measurements and main results: The self completed questionnaire contained physical and psychosocial health and quality of life (QOL) scales. Analysis of variance indicated that ICU patients were more physically ill and anxiously depressed than the community sample. Sixty-three per cent of patients had not attained full health, were functionally impaired and had a poorer QOL than those patients who had returned to full health and the community. Psychosocial health (apart from anxious depression) was related to the level of perceived physical health rather than to whether or not they had been admitted to the ICU. Those subjects not in full health had poorer interpersonal relationships, less positive attitudes about life, more anxious depression and more suicidal depression. Conclusions: ICU patients following discharge have worse perceived health and more anxiety than others in the community. Sixty-three per cent of patients had a poorer QOL and functional health than those who returned to full health and those in the community.
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