Purpose of review
Critical illness survivorship is associated with new and worsening physical, cognitive, and emotional status. Survivors are vulnerable to further health set-backs, most commonly because of infection and exacerbation of chronic medical conditions. Awareness of survivors’ challenges are important given the anticipated rise in critical illness survivors because of SARS-CoV-2 viral sepsis.
Studies continue to document challenges of critical illness survivorship. Beyond the cognitive, physical, and mental health sequelae encompassed by postintensive case syndrome, patients commonly experience persistent immunosuppression, re-hospitalization, inability to resume prior employment, and reduced quality of life. Although recommended practices for enhancing recovery from sepsis are associated with better outcomes, only a minority of patients receive all recommended practices. ICU follow-up programs or peer support groups remain important interventions to learn about and address the multifaceted challenges of critical illness survivorship, but there is little evidence of benefit to date.
Survivors of sepsis and critical illness commonly experience impaired health status, reduced quality of life, and inability to return to prior employment. Although the challenges of critical illness survivorship are increasingly well documented, there are relatively few studies on enhancing recovery. Future studies must focus on identifying best practices for optimizing recovery and strategies to promote their implementation.