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Care of ICU survivors in the community: a guide for GPs

Fiona Kiernan, MB BCh BAO, MSc (Health Econ), FCAI, EDIC, Consultant in Critical Care Medicine

British Journal of General Practice

Medical Journal

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Former ICU Patients or Their Caregivers

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Specialists in intensive care medicine have long focused on the prevention of short-term mortality. As intensive care unit (ICU) mortality continues to improve, interest in outcome measures has expanded to include the morbidity and mortality of survivors. Over the last 10 years it has been increasingly recognised that critical illness is a medical condition itself, irrespective of the underlying cause for ICU admission, and patients experience physical, psychological, and cognitive dysfunction after hospital discharge (Figure 1). However, because relatively few patients ultimately require critical care, many GPs may have little contact with these patients. It may therefore be difficult to provide the additional support required by ICU survivors. This short paper highlights some of the physical and psychological difficulties that patients face after discharge from ICUs, and will hopefully help GPs to plan long-term management of their patients in the community.

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