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Outcomes of older people receiving intensive care in Victoria

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Older people (those aged 65 years or more) comprise 14% of the Australian population and are expected to represent 26% of the population by 2051.1,2 Several recent reports warn of a rapid growth in demand for intensive care services by older patients, particularly the very old (80 years or older), arising from the combined effect of ageing demographics, expansion of intensive care services, advances in therapeutics and technology, and the evolution of community expectations.26

Providing intensive care services for any age group involves outcome, resource and ethical considerations.28 Intensive care may not benefit those with irreversible disease or extreme frailty. Thus, clinicians, patients, families and the community face complex management and end-of-life decisions about the appropriate use of life-support therapies.9

Age alone is an unreliable predictor of outcome810 and maybe a physiological…