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  1. Douglas, Sara
  2. Daly, Barbara J.
  3. Rudy, Ellen B.
  4. Sereika, Susan M.
  5. Menzel, Linda
  6. Song, Rhayun
  7. Dyer, Mary Ann
  8. Montenegro, Hugo D.


Intensive care unit (ICU) patients were randomly assigned to either a traditional ICU or a special care unit (SCU) for chronically critically ill patients. The SCU used a low-technology, family-oriented environment, nursing case management, no physician house staff, and a shared governance model. In comparison, the ICU used high technology, limited family visiting, primary care nursing, and a bureaucratic management model. The survival experience of chronically critically ill patients in the two environments during hospitalization, as well as after hospital discharge, was examined. Using survival analytic techniques, the 1-year cumulative mortality for all patients in the study was found to be 59.9%. Risk of death was significantly lower after discharge than during hospitalization. Similar mortality experiences were found for SCU and ICU patients. Thus, the high-technology ICU environment did not produce better outcomes than the SCU environment.