Issues of survivorship are rarely addressed during intensive care unit stays: Baseline results from a statewide quality improvement collaborative

Sushant Govindan, Theodore J. Iwashyna, Sam R. Watson, Robert C. Hyzy, Melissa A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale/Objective: In the context of increasing survivorship from critical illness, many studies have documented persistent sequelae among survivors. However, few evidence-based therapies exist for these problems. Support groups have proven efficacy in other populations, but little is known about their use after an intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Therefore, we surveyed critical care practitioners regarding their hospital's practice regarding discussing post-ICU problems for survivors with patients and their loved ones, communicating with primary care physicians, and providing support groups for current or former patients and families. Methods: A written survey was administered to 263 representatives of 73 hospitals attending the January 2013 annual meeting of the Michigan Health and Hospitals Association Keystone ICU initiative, a quality improvement collaborative focused on enhancing outcomes across Michigan ICUs. Results: There were 174 completed surveys, a 66% response rate. Representatives included staff nurses, nursing leadership, physicians, hospital administrators, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists. Sixty-nine percent of respondents identified at least one issue facing ICU survivors after discharge. The concerns most commonly identified by these ICU practitioners were weakness, psychiatric pathologies, cognitive dysfunction, and transitions of care. However, most respondents did not routinely discuss post- ICU problems with patients and families, and only 20% had a mechanism to formally communicate discharge information to primary care providers. Five percent reported having or being in the process of creating a support group for ICU survivors after discharge. Conclusions: Despite growing awareness of the problems faced by ICU survivors, in this statewide quality improvement collaborative, hospital-based support groups are rarely available, and deficiencies in transitions of care exist. Practice innovations and formal research are needed to provide ways to translate awareness of the problems of survivorship into improved outcomes for patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-591
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical illness
  • Disability
  • Intensive care unit
  • Recovery
  • Support groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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