Introduction: Providing high quality care in todays’ Intensive Care Units is a challenge because of the constant increase in demand, the high functional cost and the restricted availability of resources. Evaluating both patients’ experiences and outcomes from the care provided is necessary for ensuring high quality in health care.
Aim: The investigation of patient reported experiences in Intensive Care Units and the evaluation of their health related quality of life six to twelve months after discharge.
Methods: It is a non-interventional cross-sectional study with retrospective data collection. The participants were 108 patients, discharged from four Intensive Care Units of three military hospitals in Athens. Telephone interviews were conducted using “Patient Empowerment Questionnaire” and “Quality of life Questionnaire” to evaluate patients’ experiences and health related quality of life respectively. Statistical analysis was conducted using the statistical package SPSS v.25.0.
Results: The majority of the study population reported positive experiences with the critical care staff and normal quality of life after discharge. However, 47% reported that they could not always sleep at night and 32% did not always receive adequate pain relief. In regards to patients’ quality of life, “normal daily activities” were affected the most. Specifically, half of the patients reported inability to carry out activities requiring high level of physical effort and 1/5 expressed difficulties in walking and in mobility. Additionally, 43% reported difficulties in the job or their daily activities, have changed or completely abandoned them.
Conclusions: The patients’ positive experiences and good health related quality of life after discharge gave the impression that quality of intensive care in Greek military hospitals is high. Interventions intending to achieve more adequate pain relief, better sleep at night, and prevention of critical illness’ negative impact on day-to-day activities would ensure more positive results.
Key words: Critically ill patients, HRQOL, ICU, patient reported experiences and outcomes, quality of healthcare.