Do critical illness survivors with multimorbidity need a different model of care?

Jonathan Stewart, Judy Bradley, Susan Smith, Joanne McPeake, Timothy Walsh, Kimberley Haines, Nina Leggett, Nigel Hart, Danny McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is currently a lack of evidence on the optimal strategy to support patient recovery after critical illness. Previous research has largely focussed on rehabilitation interventions which aimed to address physical, psychological, and cognitive functional sequelae, the majority of which have failed to demonstrate benefit for the selected outcomes in clinical trials. It is increasingly recognised that a person's existing health status, and in particular multimorbidity (usually defined as two or more medical conditions) and frailty, are strongly associated with their long-term outcomes after critical illness. Recent evidence indicates the existence of a distinct subgroup of critical illness survivors with multimorbidity and high healthcare utilisation, whose prior health trajectory is a better predictor of long-term outcomes than the severity of their acute illness. This review examines the complex relationships between multimorbidity and patient outcomes after critical illness, which are likely mediated by a range of factors including the number, severity, and modifiability of a person's medical conditions, as well as related factors including treatment burden, functional status, healthcare delivery, and social support. We explore potential strategies to optimise patient recovery after critical illness in the presence of multimorbidity. A comprehensive and individualized approach is likely necessary including close coordination among healthcare providers, medication reconciliation and management, and addressing the physical, psychological, and social aspects of recovery. Providing patient-centred care that proactively identifies critical illness survivors with multimorbidity and accounts for their unique challenges and needs is likely crucial to facilitate recovery and improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485
JournalCritical Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Multimorbidity
  • Critical Illness/epidemiology
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Health Status
  • Survivors/psychology


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