Outcomes in pediatric critical care research are typically selected by the researcher.
(1) To identify outcomes prioritized by patients and their families following a critical illness and (2) to determine the overlap between patient-centered and researcher-selected study outcomes.
An exploratory descriptive qualitative study nested within a longitudinal cohort study conducted in 2 pediatric intensive care units (PICUs). Participants were purposively sampled from the primary cohort to ensure adequate demographic representation. Qualitative descriptive approaches based on naturalistic observation were used to collect data and analyze results. Data were coded by using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health Children and Youth (ICF-CY) framework.
Twenty-one participants were interviewed a mean of 5.1 months after PICU discharge. Outcomes fell into 2 categories: patient-centered and family-centered. In the former, diagnosis, survival, and prognosis were key priorities during the acute critical illness. Once survival appears possible, functioning (physical, cognitive, and emotional), and factors that influence recovery (ie, rehabilitation, environment, and quality of life) are prioritized. Family-centered outcomes consisted of parents’ psychosocial functioning and experience of care. Patient-centered outcomes were covered well by the selected study measures of functioning, but not by the clinical outcome measures.
Functioning and quality of life are key patient-centered outcomes during recovery from critical illness. These are not well captured by end points typically used in PICU studies. These results justify the importance of patient- and family-centered outcomes in PICU research and a need to determine how these outcomes can be comprehensively measured.