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Early post-intensive care syndrome among older adult sepsis survivors receiving home care

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society March 1, 2019

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Research Areas


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: New or worsened disabilities in functional, cognitive, or mental health following an intensive care unit (ICU) stay are referred to as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). PICS has not been described in older adults receiving home care. Our aim was to examine the relationship between length of ICU stay and PICS among older adults receiving home care. We expected that patients in the ICU for 3 days or longer would demonstrate significantly more disability in all three domains on follow-up than those not in the ICU. A secondary aim was to identify patient characteristics increasing the odds of disability.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: Hospitalization for sepsis in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 21,520 Medicare patients receiving home care and reassessed a median of 1 day (interquartile range 1-2 d) after hospital discharge.

MEASUREMENTS: PICS was defined as a decline or worsening in one or more of 16 indicators tested before and after hospitalization using OASIS (Home Health Outcome and Assessment Information Set) and Medicare claims data.

RESULTS: The sample was predominantly female and white. All had sepsis, and most (81.8%) had severe sepsis. In adjusted models, an ICU stay of 3 days or longer, compared with no ICU stay, increased the odds of physical disability. Overall, the declines were modest and found in specific activities of daily living (16% for feeding and lower body dressing to 26% for oral medicine management). No changes were identified in cognition or mental health. Significant determinants of new or worsened physical disabilities were sepsis severity, older age, depression, frailty, and dementia.

CONCLUSION: Older adults receiving home care who develop sepsis and are in an ICU for 3 days or longer are likely to develop new or worsened physical disabilities. Whether these disabilities remain after the early postdischarge phase requires further study.


National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)