Post-COVID recovery: characteristics of chronically critically ill patients admitted to a long-term acute care hospital

Link to article at PubMed

F1000Res. 2020 Oct 15;9:1241. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.26989.1. eCollection 2020.


Background: Survivors of COVID-19 pneumonia often suffer from chronic critical illness (CCI) and require long-term hospitalization. Long-term acute care (LTAC) hospitals are vital in the care of CCI patients, but their role for patients post COVID-19 infection is not known. Barlow Respiratory Hospital (BRH) is a 105-bed, LTAC hospital network serving ventilator-dependent and medically-complex patients transferred from the ICUs of hospitals in southern California. We report patient characteristics of our first series of COVID-19 survivors admitted to the post-acute venue of an LTAC hospital. Methods: Single-center observational descriptive report of patients recovering from acute infectious complications of COVID-19 pneumonia requiring long-term respiratory support. Results: From 28 April to 7 September 2020, 41 patients were admitted to BRH for continued recovery from COVID-19 pneumonia. The length of stay at the transferring hospital was twice that of non-COVID patients admitted during the same time period. Median age: 68 [44-94] years, 61% male, 80.5% with tracheostomy, 51.2% on invasive mechanical ventilation, 22% receiving hemodialysis. All mechanical ventilation and hemodialysis interventions were initiated at the transferring hospital. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first report to characterize CCI and medically complex COVID-19 patients transferred to the post-acute venue of an LTAC hospital. Patients on average spent over six weeks in the transferring hospital mostly in the ICU, are largely elderly, carry the known risk factors for COVID-19 infection, and experienced respiratory failure necessitating prolonged mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy. Our findings suggest that these patients will continue to require considerable medical interventions and treatments, including weaning from mechanical ventilation, owing to the numerous sequelae of the infection and the burden of acute-on-chronic diseases. As ICU survival rates improve, this research further emphasizes the important role of the LTAC hospital in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

PMID:34026050 | PMC:PMC8108550 | DOI:10.12688/f1000research.26989.1

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