In this review, we discuss several aspects of the decision to admit very old intensive care patients (VOPs) and present national as well as international data concerning outcome of VOPs. A substantial proportion of VOPs will not survive hospitalisation (33 to 42% 30-day mortality) and various studies describe that up to 75% of the patients are suffering from a persisting or severe functional decline after hospital discharge. Many will not be discharged home. Moreover, many elderly patients prioritise ‘quality of life’ above ‘quantity of life’. Therefore, the available outcome data should be used to inform patients or their surrogate decision-makers and enable them to participate in shared decision-making concerning goals of care.
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