Outcomes in intensive care

Outcomes can be measured in terms of mortality, morbidity, disability, functional health status, and quality of life. In many areas of health care, choice of the outcome measure presents considerable methodological and practical difficulties. Deaths are often too rare and therefore too insensitive a measure, and health status is often too complex for routine measurement.

Given the relatively high mortality experienced by intensive care patients, deaths do offer a sensitive, appropriate, and therefore meaningful measure of outcome. However, other outcomes such as morbidity, disability, functional health status, and quality of life should not be ignored.

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