Outcome measures

Outcome measures in intensive and high dependency care: a systematic review

What was this review about? 

Adequate evaluation of intensive and high dependency care requires clarity and agreement on the appropriate outcome measures needed to reflect a variety of perspectives (consumer, provider, purchaser) in a scientific manner. 

This review looked at case series, cohort studies and randomised trials that included outcome data on at least 20 adult patients following discharge from critical care.

The review had the following objectives:

  • to identify generic and disease specific measures of impairment, functional status and health-related quality of life that have been used in adult critical care survivors;
  • to review the validity, reliability and responsiveness of the measures in adult critical care survivors;
  • to consider the implications for future policy and to make recommendations for further methodological research;
  • to review what is currently known of the outcome of adult critical care. 

What did the review find? 

The review identified 144 papers providing data on 161 different outcome measures. The review focussed on 38 outcome measures that were used on at least two occasions.

The authors recommended that outcome measures be selected from the following restricted list of generic measures:

  • physical function (Katz’s Activities of Daily Living Index, Karnofsky Index);
  • mental function (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Profile of Mood State);
  • measures of recovery (Glasgow Outcome Scale, return to work, return to home); and
  • health-related quality of life (Sickness Impact Profile, Perceived Quality of Life Scale, Nottingham Health Profile, Short Form-36). 


  • Authors: Black NA, Jenkinson C, Hayes JA, Young D, Vella K, Rowan KM, Daly K, Ridley S Title: Review of outcome measures used in adult critical care Publication: Critical Care Medicine Journal website PubMed citation

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