Long-term effect of the ICU-diary concept on quality of life after critical illness
Critically ill patients often spend time in the intensive care unit (ICU) either unconscious or sedated. On recovery, they are often in a state of confusion with memory loss that may be associated with a longstanding reduction in health-related quality of life (QoL). We hypothesised that the ICU-diary concept could improve their QoL by filling in their memory gaps.Methods:
A non-randomised, prospective study in a non-academic eight-bedded general ICU. A group of patients (n=38) were selected to receive the ICU-diary concept (keeping a diary with photos while on the ICU plus a follow-up meeting) when a long and complicated course was expected. Health-related QoL at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months was compared with a group that did not receive the ICU-diary (n=224). The Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form (SF-36) was used to measure health-related QoL. Multiple regression models adjusted for age, sex, illness severity, pre-existing disease and diagnostic category was used to analyse the effects of the ICU-diary concept at 6 months, and changes over time were analysed using repeated measures MANOVA.Results:
Crude and adjusted scores for two dimensions of SF-36 (general health and vitality) and the physical component summary score were significantly higher at 6 months in the ICU-diary group (P<0.05) and some of the effects remained during the 3-year follow-up period (P<0.05).Conclusion:
The ICU-diary concept was associated with improved health-related QoL during the 3-year follow-up period after a critical illness. The effect of this intervention needs to be confirmed in a larger randomised study.