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Respir Care. 2012 Jun;57(6):867-86; discussion 886-8. doi: 10.4187/respcare.01656.

Current venues of care and related costs for the chronically critically ill.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


The chronically critically ill (CCI) patient population is characterized by a prolonged need for high cost medical interventions, a high 1-year mortality rate, and a very high demand for post acute care services. The best characterized CCI patient population is patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV). This review will focus on the current knowledge of costs and care venues for the care of this patient population. The PMV population suffers from a prolonged length of acute care hospital stay, median hospital costs 3-4 times the cost of short-term ventilator patients, frequent care venue changes during the course of illness, a small likelihood of discharge to the home environment, yet a hospital mortality that does not differ significantly from the short-term ventilated patient group. The PMV population is projected to double in size by the year 2020. Given the dramatic comparative acute care cost burden of PMV patients, the societal implications for managing both the care burden and the costs of care are staggering. Strategies to improve the efficiency in healthcare for this patient population will be essential. Limitations to the existing care models in the United States will be identified with a focus on our current research deficiencies, which limit healthcare providers and administrators in providing patient focused care for this patient population.

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