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The trajectory of very old critically ill patients

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Abstract

The demographic shift, together with financial constraint, justify a re-evaluation of the trajectory of care of very old critically ill patients (VIP), defined as older than 80 years. We must avoid over- as well as under-utilisation of critical care interventions in this patient group and ensure the inclusion of health care professionals, the patient and their caregivers in the decision process. This new integrative approach mobilises expertise at each step of the process beginning prior to intensive care unit (ICU) admission and extending to long-term follow-up. In this review, several international experts have contributed to provide recommendations that can be universally applied. Our aim is to define a minimum core dataset of information to be shared and discussed prior to ICU admission and to facilitate the shared-decision-making process with the patient and their caregivers, throughout the patient journey. Documentation of uncertainty may contribute to a tailored level of care and ultimately to discussions around possible limitations of life sustaining treatments. The goal of ICU care is not only to avoid death, but more importantly to maintain an acceptable quality of life and functional autonomy after hospital discharge. Societal consideration is important to highlight, together with alternatives to ICU admission. We discuss challenges for the future and potential areas of research. In summary, this review provides a state-of-the-art current overview and aims to outline future directions to address the challenges in the treatment of VIP.

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Guidet, B., Vallet, H., Flaatten, H. et al. The trajectory of very old critically ill patients. Intensive Care Med 50, 181–194 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00134-023-07298-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00134-023-07298-z

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