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Difference in ICU care between the US and UK reflect extremes of bed availability
Date:4/13/2011

y information it looks like [the U.S. is] very efficient, but many of these patients are actually going to a skilled care facility where the mortality is a lot higher than among those who go home. The effect is that for studies of ICU patients, there is a fair amount of mortality that occurs after intensive care that is outside of the hospital. This practice makes it hard to compare U.S. hospital mortality to other countries that tend to keep people in the hospital until they either die or are able to go home."

In spite of the difficulties in making direct comparisons between the countries, the study provides valuable information regarding the impact of ICU resources on admission practices and demonstrates some large differences in healthcare delivery. "The differences in the types of patients admitted to the ICU, and the patterns of hospital care for these critically ill patients really are enormous," said Dr. Wunsch.

In future research, Dr. Wunsch and colleagues hope to make more direct comparisons between groups of similar patients. "We want to understand the key differences between these two different models of ICU access," said Dr. Wunsch. "On the one hand, we want to ask at what point does restricted access to care translate into poorer patient outcomes? On the other, at what point are we no longer delivering intensive care that is helpful to patients?"


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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