Healthcare utilisation among patients discharged from hospital after intensive care
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Surviving critical illness can be life-changing and presents new healthcare challenges for patients after hospital discharge. This feasibility study aimed to examine healthcare service utilisation for patients discharged from hospital after intensive care unit stay. Following Ethics Committee approval, patients aged 18 years and older were recruited over three months. Those admitted after cardiac surgery, discharged to another facility or against medical advice were excluded. Patients were informed of the study by post and followed-up by telephone at two and six months after discharge. General practitioners were also contacted (44% responded). Among 187 patients discharged from hospital, 11 died, 25 declined to participate and 39 could not be contacted. For 112 patients (60%) who completed a survey, the majority (82%) went home from hospital and were cared for by their partner (53%).More than half of the patients (58%) reported taking the same number of medications after intensive care unit stay but 30% took more (P=0.023). While there was no change in the number of visits to the general practitioner for 64% of patients, 29% reported an increase after intensive care unit stay. At six months, 40% of responders who were not retired were unemployed. Discharge summary surveys revealed 39 general practitioners wrote comments: 10 reported insufficient information about ongoing needs/rehabilitation and two reported no mention of intensive care unit stay. Survivors of critical illness had increased healthcare needs and despite most returning home, had a low workforce participation rate. This requires further investigation to maximise the benefits of survival from critical illness.
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