critical illness, critical care, quality of life, health care


Survivors of a critical illness are at risk to develop physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments that can persist for months to years after they leave the hospital. Health-related quality of life (HRQL) and functional abilities are important measures of outcomes after a critical illness, as they reflect not only the effects of the critical illness, its treatment, and comorbid illness but also physical disability, cognitive impairment, and psychological disorders (depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder) after a critical illness in adults (1). A review of HRQL in 557 adult survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome found a substantially lower HRQL in both physical and mental components compared with age- and sex-matched healthy populations, which was associated with functional disability (2). The preponderance of evidence regarding long-term outcomes after a critical illness comes from adult ICU populations, and less is known about long-term outcomes for children after a critical illness. Children admitted to a pediatric ICU (PICU) have increased vulnerability to develop new or worsening long-term morbidities, including a reduced quality of life and new functional disability. For example, studies of children who had been admitted to a PICU found that they had a reduced HRQL (3) and a high rate of functional disability (up to 82%) after they were discharged from the hospital (4). These findings suggest that, like adult populations, many PICU survivors develop physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments that are associated with reduced HRQL and functional disability.

Original Publication Citation

Originally Published in Press as DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201905-0977ED on May 30, 2019

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



the American Thoracic Society




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

Included in

Psychology Commons