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More than half of survivors of critical illness treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) do not make a full recovery at one year, according to a study published online Sept. 7 in PLOS ONE. Lise F. E. Beumeler, from University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues evaluated changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the first year after ICU admission. The analysis included 81 adult patients with ICU stays of at least 48 hours. The researchers found that 55 percent of patients did not make a full recovery. Patients in the nonrecovery group received home care more often and had higher health care utilization than those in the recovery group (44 versus 17 percent in the first three months after ICU stay). Further, only 14 percent of non-fully recovered patients were able to participate in work activities. Throughout the year after critical illness, non-fully recovered patients persistently showed impaired overall HRQoL. "In this prospective 12-month observational period, more than half of the long-term ICU survivors showed no significant sign of physical recovery. These results substantiate the findings of our previously published retrospective study on recovery in an ICU outpatient clinic cohort," the authors write. "In addition, after ICU admission, this was associated with shortcomings in self-efficacy and societal participation. Persistent physical nonrecovery was a marker for impairment in (almost) all domains of HRQoL. Ultimately, proxy-derived HRQoL at baseline helped to identify patients at risk for nonrecovery."