Health Services Research & Development

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McPeake J, Mikkelsen ME, Quasim T, Hibbert E, Cannon P, Shaw M, Ankori J, Iwashyna TJ, Haines KJ. Return to Employment Following Critical Illness and Its Association with Psychosocial Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2019 Jun 11.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Patients who survive critical illness have well-defined physical, cognitive, emotional, and familial problems. However, the impact of these problems on survivors'' ability to return to work and other financial outcomes are less clear. OBJECTIVE: To determine the financial and employment consequences of an intensive care stay, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis. Data Source We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL (1970-2018). All study designs except narrative reviews, case reports, case control studies, and editorials were included. Included studies assessed financial outcomes in patients admitted to critical care, and their caregivers. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently applied eligibility criteria, assessed quality and extracted data. The primary outcome reported was return to employment among those previously employed. We also examined financial stress and the impact financial outcomes had on quality of life and psychosocial health. DATA SYNTHESIS: From 5765 eligible abstracts, 51 studies were included, which provided data on 858 caregivers/family members and 7267 patients. Forty-two papers reported on patient outcomes and 11 papers on caregiver/family members. Two papers included data from both patients and caregivers/family members. Return to employment was the most commonly reported financial outcome for critical care survivors. The pooled estimate for return to employment-among those who were employed prior to critical illness-was 33% (95% CI: 21%-48%), 55% (95% CI: 45%-64%) and 56% (95% CI: 45%-66%) at 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. Across the studies included in this review, there was a positive association with psychosocial health if patients returned to employment. This included improved health related quality of life and fewer depressive symptoms. With caregivers/family members, six studies reported changes to employment such as reduced hours and lost earnings. CONCLUSIONS: Following critical illness, many patients who were previously employed do not return to work, even one year later. This new job loss is associated with worse health related quality of life amongst survivors and worse psychological function amongst survivors and caregivers/family members. More interventional research is required to understand how best to support employability after critical illness. PROSPERO (ID:CRD42018102360).