- RATIONALE: Disability risk groups and 1-year outcome after greater than or equal to 7 days of mechanical ventilation (MV) in medical/surgical intensive care unit (ICU) patients are unknown and may inform education, prognostication, rehabilitation, and study design. OBJECTIVES: To stratify patients for post-ICU disability and recovery to 1 year after critical illness. METHODS: We evaluated a multicenter cohort of 391 medical/surgical ICU patients who received greater than or equal to 1 week of MV at 7 days and 3, 6, and 12 months after ICU discharge. Disability risk groups were identified using recursive partitioning modeling. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The 7-day post-ICU Functional Independence Measure (FIM) determined the recovery trajectory to 1-year after ICU discharge and was an independent risk factor for 1-year mortality. The 7-day post-ICU FIM was predicted by age and ICU length of stay. By 2 weeks of MV, ICU patients could be stratified into four disability groups characterized by increasing risk for post ICU disability, ICU and post-ICU healthcare use, and disposition. Patients less than 42 years with ICU length of stay less than 2 weeks had the best function and fewest deaths at 1 year compared with patients greater than 66 years with ICU length of stay greater than 2 weeks who sustained the worst disability and 40% 1-year mortality. Depressive symptoms (17%) and post-traumatic stress disorder (18%) persisted at 1 year. CONCLUSIONS: ICU survivors of greater than or equal to 1 week of MV may be stratified into four disability groups based on age and ICU length of stay. These groups determine 1-year recovery and healthcare use and are independent of admitting diagnosis and illness severity. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00896220).