Functional independence, frailty and perceived quality of life in patients who developed delirium during ICU stay: a prospective cohort study.

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European Journal of Medical Research
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Background Survivors of critical illness are frequently left with a long-lasting disability. We hypothesised that patients who developed delirium during ICU stay, compared with patients who did not, would have worse health-related quality of life following a critical illness. Methods Prospective longitudinal observational and analytical study assessing functional independence, frailty and perceived quality of life measured with the Barthel Index, the Clinical Frailty Scale, and the SF-36, comparing patients who developed delirium during ICU stay and patients who did not. The questionnaires were used at different times during the follow-up (upon ICU admission, at ICU discharge, at hospital discharge and 2 years after hospital discharge). Results In a cohort of 1462 patients, we matched 93 patients who developed delirium (delirium group) with 93 patients who did not develop delirium (no-delirium group). Of 156 completed questionnaires (84.7%), we observed that (a) in each of the two groups of patients, the scores related to functional independence (Barthel Index) and frailty (Clinical Frailty Scale) tended to improve over time (p < 0.001), being consistently less favourable in the delirium group compared to the no-delirium group (p < 0.001); (b) the patients who developed delirium also presented lower scores on the SF-36 scale, these differences being statistically significant, and therefore evidencing a worse quality of life, with impact on both the psychological and social spheres (p < 0.001). Conclusions Patients who developed delirium had significantly lower scores 2 years after hospital discharge on the three used questionnaires, displaying a clear negative impact on the physical, psychological, and social dimensions. The study's results reinforce the need to support and strengthen the care of ICU survivors.

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Activities of daily living, Critical care, Delirium, Health-related quality of life, Post-intensive care syndrome