A protocol for tracking outcomes post intensive care

Nurs Crit Care. 2022 May;27(3):341-347. doi: 10.1111/nicc.12613. Epub 2021 Feb 20.


Background: Critically ill patients are more likely to survive intensive care than ever before due to advances in treatment. However, a proportion subsequently experiences post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) incurring substantial personal, social, and economic costs. PICS is a debilitating set of physical, psychological, and cognitive sequelae but the size and characteristics of the affected population have been difficult to describe, impeding progress in intensive care rehabilitation.

Aims and objectives: The aim of this protocol is to describe recovery after admission to intensive care unit (ICU) and the predictors, correlates, and patient-reported outcomes for those experiencing PICS. The study will support the development of screening, diagnostic, and outcome measures to improve post-ICU recovery.

Design: A prospective, multi-site observational study in three ICUs in Brisbane, Australia. Following consent, data will be collected from clinical records and using validated self-report instruments from 300 patients, followed up at 6 weeks and 6 months post ICU discharge.

Methods: TOPIC is a prospective, multi-site observational study using self-report and clinical data on risk factors, including comorbidities, and outcomes. Data will be collected with consent from hospital records and participants 6 weeks and 6months post ICU discharge.

Results: The main outcome measures will be self-reported physical, cognitive, and psychological function 6 weeks and 6 months post-ICU discharge.

Relevance to clinical practice: This protocol provides a methodological framework to measure recovery and understand PICS. Data analysis will describe characteristics associated with recovery and PICS. The subsequent prediction and screening tools developed then aim to improve the effectiveness of post-ICU prevention and rehabilitation through more targeted screening and prediction and found a program of research developing a more tailored approach to PICS.

Keywords: critical illness; occupational health; post-intensive care syndrome; psychiatry; public and environmental health; statistics and research design.

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care* / psychology
  • Critical Illness / psychology
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*

Supplementary concepts

  • postintensive care syndrome