Socio-economic impact on patients of a stay in the intensive care unit: Is it overlooked?
Keywords:socio-economic impact, PICS, intensive care unit, vulnerability, health inequalities
Patients who survive a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) are at increased risk of a range of symptoms, collectively known as Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS). This syndrome highlights the importance of each of its constituent domains in the main areas of daily life (e.g. social and family life, professional activity, etc). In addition to PICS, health inequalities also have an impact, particularly in terms of access to healthcare, return to home and quality of life post-ICU. ICU admission may also have an impact on the patient’s ability to (return to) work post-ICU, thus affecting the family income, with potential for social isolation or introversion. A number of initiatives have attempted to anticipate (e.g. social workers in France), and monitor the socio-economic consequences of an ICU stay (e.g. post-ICU consultations, peer help groups etc). However, in France, there is a lack of reliable and validated indicators that could be used to offer personalized medical and social support, with a view to minimizing the socio-economic repercussions after a stay in ICU, which could compound health inequalities.