Grant Application

Brad W. Butcher, MD, UPMC Mercy

Proposed Innovation

Many people now survive critical illness, but they often leave the hospital with a constellation of physical, cognitive, psychiatric, and social disabilities stemming from their stay in the intensive care unit. This “post-intensive care syndrome” (PICS) —which arises after a critical illness and persists beyond acute care hospitalization — can impact patients as well as their family members and caregivers.

Through this project, the Critical Illness Recovery Center at UPMC Mercy will be established as a follow-up clinic to provide patient and family support after critical illness. The goal is to improve patient outcomes, after ICU discharge, decrease readmission rates, and enhance the quality of life for patients and caregivers.

Improvements in Action

The Critical Illness Recovery Center will provide a multidisciplinary forum for clinicians to help patients and their families process their ICU experience, discuss functional limitations, set realistic expectations for recovery, and help caregivers manage the burden of caring for a loved one. By partnering with primary care physicians, the clinic will perform screening evaluations and provide and extra layer of support to prevent hospital readmissions. In addition, instructional materials and decision aids will be developed to help patients, families, and clinicians engage in shared decision making about patient values and wishes for future care.

Intended Outcomes

Patients will be assessed during four follow-up visits conducted over a 12-month period. Those patients identified with new or worsening mental health, physical, and cognitive issues will be referred for appropriate therapy. A unique palliative care needs assessment and intervention will also help patients determine care goals, manage symptoms, and make decisions about advance care planning.