The effects of intensive care unit-initiated transitional care interventions on elements of post-intensive care syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sabine Adriana Johanna Josepha op't Hoog, Anne Maria Eskes, Mariëlle Pieternella Johanna van Mersbergen-de Bruin, Thomas Pelgrim, Hans van der Hoeven, Hester Vermeulen, Lilian Christina Maria Vloet

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of intensive care unit (ICU)–initiated transitional care interventions for patients and families on elements of post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) and/or PICS-family (PICS–F). Review method used: This is a systematic review and meta-analysis Sources: The authors searched in biomedical bibliographic databases including PubMed, Embase (OVID), CINAHL Plus (EBSCO), Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library and included studies written in English conducted up to October 8, 2020. Review methods: We included (non)randomised controlled trials focussing on ICU-initiated transitional care interventions for patients and families. Two authors conducted selection, quality assessment, and data extraction and synthesis independently. Outcomes were described using the three elements of PICS, which were categorised into (i) physical impairments (pulmonary, neuromuscular, and physical function), (ii) cognitive impairments (executive function, memory, attention, visuo-spatial and mental processing speed), and (iii) psychological health (anxiety, depression, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression). Results: From the initially identified 5052 articles, five studies were included (i.e., two randomised controlled trials and three nonrandomised controlled trials) with varied transitional care interventions. Quality among the studies differs from moderate to high risk of bias. Evidence from the studies shows no significant differences in favour of transitional care interventions on physical or psychological aspects of PICS-(F). One study with a nurse-led structured follow-up program showed a significant difference in physical function at 3 months. Conclusions: Our review revealed that there is a paucity of research about the effectiveness of transitional care interventions for ICU patients with PICS. All, except one of the identified studies, failed to show a significant effect on the elements of PICS. However, these results should be interpreted with caution owing to variety and scarcity of data. Prospero registration: CRD42020136589 (available via

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian critical care
Issue number3
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Intensive care units
  • Meta-analysis
  • Post-intensive care syndrome
  • Systematic review
  • Transitional care

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