By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

Photo courtesy of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Photo courtesy of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

ICU stays are inherently stressful, and can result in various unique morbidities that adversely affect ICU survivors’ quality of life. To better care for such patients, providers at one Indiana facility decided to create a new care model. Authors Babar Khan and colleagues report on their efforts in one of this month’s CE features, “Critical Care Recovery Center: An Innovative Collaborative Care Model for ICU Survivors.” Here’s a brief overview.

Five million Americans require admission to ICUs annually owing to life-threatening illnesses. Recent medical advances have resulted in higher survival rates for critically ill patients, who often have significant cognitive, physical, and psychological sequelae, known as postintensive care syndrome (PICS). This growing population threatens to overwhelm the current U.S. health care system, which lacks established clinical models for managing their care. Novel innovative models are urgently needed.

To this end, the pulmonary/critical care and geriatrics divisions at the Indiana University School of Medicine joined forces to develop and implement a collaborative care model, the Critical Care Recovery Center (CCRC). Its mission is to maximize the cognitive, physical, and psychological recovery of ICU survivors. Developed around the principles of implementation and complexity science, the CCRC opened in 2011 as a clinical center with a secondary research focus. Care is provided through a pre-CCRC patient and caregiver needs assessment, an initial diagnostic workup visit, and a follow-up visit that includes a family conference. With its sole focus on the prevention and treatment of PICS, the CCRC represents an innovative prototype aimed at modifying post–critical illness morbidities and improving the ICU survivor’s quality of life.

The CCRC model also incorporates four more follow-up visits for additional patient monitoring and reassessment, as well as evaluation of the designated caregiver’s stress and burden. Preliminary data suggest that the CCRC model can indeed enhance the cognitive, physical, and psychological recovery of ICU survivors. The authors are continuing to gather data.

In closing, the authors state that the CCRC model might serve as an “ahead-of-the-curve example” of ICU aftercare for other facilities, and further recommend that the implementation process be tailored to a facility’s particular culture. To learn more, read the article, which is free online.

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