BACKGROUND Approximately 5 to 10% of critically ill patients transition from acute critical illness to a state of persistent and in some cases chronic critical illness. These patients have unique and complex needs that require a change in the clinical management plan and overall goals of care to a focus on rehabilitation, symptom relief, discharge planning, and in some cases, end-of-life care. However, existing indicators and measures of care quality, and tools such as checklists, that foster implementation of best practices, may not be sufficiently inclusive in terms of actionable processes of care relevant to these patients. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review is to identify the processes of care, performance measures, quality indicators, and outcomes including reports of patient/family experience described in the current evidence base relevant to patients with persistent or chronic critical illness and their family members. METHODS Two authors will independently search from inception to November 2016: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library, PROSPERO, the Joanna Briggs Institute and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. We will include all study designs except case series/reports of <10 patients describing their study population (aged 18 years and older) using terms such as persistent critical illness, chronic critical illness, and prolonged mechanical ventilation. Two authors will independently perform data extraction and complete risk of bias assessment. Our primary outcome is to determine actionable processes of care and interventions deemed relevant to patients experiencing persistent or chronic critical illness and their family members. Secondary outcomes include (1) performance measures and quality indicators considered relevant to our population of interest and (2) themes related to patient and family experience. DISCUSSION We will use our systematic review findings, with data from patient, family member and clinician interviews, and a subsequent consensus building process to inform the development of quality metrics and tools to measure processes of care, outcomes and experience for patients experiencing persistent or chronic critical illness and their family members. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION PROSPERO CRD42016052715.