Resilience in survivors of critical illness: a scoping review of the published literature in relation to definitions, prevalence, and relationship to clinical outcomes

Ellen Pauley, Timothy S. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Survivors of critical illness face substantial challenges in their recovery, including physical and cognitive dysfunction. Resilience is the ability to adapt and maintain one’s mental health after facing such challenges. Higher resilience levels have been found to be beneficial throughout the illness trajectory in cancer patients, but resilience has not been widely researched in critical care patients. We undertook a scoping review to identify published studies on resilience following critical illness and describe: how resilience has been measured; the prevalence of low resilience in critical care patients; and what associations (if any) exist between resilience and clinical outcomes. We searched: PubMed, Medline, PsychINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, to identify relevant studies. We found 882 unique titles: 17 were selected for full text review, 10 were considered relevant. These included ICU inpatients and survivors, and trauma and sepsis survivors. A broad critical appraisal of each study was undertaken. The overall quality of published studies was low: there was wide variation in resilience-assessment tools across the studies, including the timing of measurement; only one used a validated tool. Estimates of low resilience ranged from 28%-67%, but with varying populations, high risk of inclusion bias, and small samples. Higher resilience levels were significantly associated with lower depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, pain, anger, executive dysfunction, and difficulty with self-care in critical care patients and survivors. Future studies should use validated resilience assessment, determine the optimum timing, and explore prevalence, associations with outcomes, and resilience-promoting interventions in non-selected or clearly defined populations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Intensive Care Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021

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