Conceptualizing Post Intensive Care Syndrome in Children—The PICS-p Framework*

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Abstract

Context:

Over the past several decades, advances in pediatric critical care have saved many lives. As such, contemporary care has broadened its focus to also include minimizing morbidity. Post Intensive Care Syndrome, also known as “PICS,” is a group of cognitive, physical, and mental health impairments that commonly occur in patients after ICU discharge. Post Intensive Care Syndrome has been well-conceptualized in the adult population but not in children.

Objective:

To develop a conceptual framework describing Post Intensive Care Syndrome in pediatrics that includes aspects of the experience that are unique to children and their families.

Data Synthesis:

The Post Intensive Care Syndrome in pediatrics (PICS-p) framework highlights the importance of baseline status, organ system maturation, psychosocial development, the interdependence of family, and trajectories of health recovery that can potentially impact a child’s life for decades.

Conclusion:

Post Intensive Care Syndrome in pediatrics will help illuminate the phenomena of surviving childhood critical illness and guide outcomes measurement in the field. Empirical studies are now required to validate and refine this framework, and to subsequently develop a set of core outcomes for this population. With explication of Post Intensive Care Syndrome in pediatrics, the discipline of pediatric critical care will then be in a stronger position to map out recovery after pediatric critical illness and to evaluate interventions designed to mitigate risk for poor outcomes with the goal of optimizing child and family health.

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