University Of Tasmania
149500 - The impact of COVID-19 critical illness on new disability, functional outcomes and return to work at 6 months.pdf (1.75 MB)

The impact of COVID-19 critical illness on new disability, functional outcomes and return to work at 6 months: a prospective cohort study

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 06:48 authored by Hodgson, CL, Higgins, AM, Bailey, MJ, Mather, AM, Beach, L, Bellomo, R, Bissett, B, Ianthe BodenIanthe Boden, Bradley, S, Burrell, A, Cooper, DJ, Fulcher, BJ, Haines, KJ, Hopkins, J, Jones, AYM, Lane, S, Lawrence, D, van der Lee, L, Liacos, J, Linke, NJ, Marques Gomes, L, Nickels, M, Ntoumenopoulos, G, Myles, PS, Patman, S, Paton, M, Pound, G, Rai, S, Rix, A, Rollinson, TC, Sivasuthan, J, Tipping, CJ, Thomas, P, Tapani, T, Udy, AA, Whitehead, C, Hodgson, IT, Anderson, S, Neto, AS


There are few reports of new functional impairment following critical illness from COVID-19. We aimed to describe the incidence of death or new disability, functional impairment and changes in health-related quality of life of patients after COVID-19 critical illness at 6 months.


In a nationally representative, multicenter, prospective cohort study of COVID-19 critical illness, we determined the prevalence of death or new disability at 6 months, the primary outcome. We measured mortality, new disability and return to work with changes in the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 12L (WHODAS) and health status with the EQ5D-5LTM.


Of 274 eligible patients, 212 were enrolled from 30 hospitals. The median age was 61 (51–70) years, and 124 (58.5%) patients were male. At 6 months, 43/160 (26.9%) patients died and 42/108 (38.9%) responding survivors reported new disability. Compared to pre-illness, the WHODAS percentage score worsened (mean difference (MD), 10.40% [95% CI 7.06–13.77]; p < 0.001). Thirteen (11.4%) survivors had not returned to work due to poor health. There was a decrease in the EQ-5D-5LTM utility score (MD, − 0.19 [− 0.28 to − 0.10]; p < 0.001). At 6 months, 82 of 115 (71.3%) patients reported persistent symptoms. The independent predictors of death or new disability were higher severity of illness and increased frailty.


At six months after COVID-19 critical illness, death and new disability was substantial. Over a third of survivors had new disability, which was widespread across all areas of functioning.


Publication title

Critical Care



Article number







School of Health Sciences


Current Science Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2021 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified; Determinants of health