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Intensive care Syndrome: Promoting Independence and Return to Employment

Tara Quasim, and Joanne Mc Peake

ICU Management & Practice

Medical Journal

Media Originally for:

Critical Care Physicians


It is now well established that many patients ‏and caregivers suffer physical, psychological ‏and social problems in the years ‏and months following critical care discharge ‏(Herridge et al. 2011). Similar to many centres, ‏our intensive care unit (ICU) had no follow-up ‏service available to support patients through this ‏difficult recovery period (Griffiths et al. 2006). ‏To understand how best to create a service ‏that was safe, effective and person-centred, ‏two members of our multidisciplinary team ‏(MDT) undertook research programmes to ‏help identify the problems that patients faced ‏after ICU and to help understand the context ‏for change (Quasim et al. 2015; McPeake et ‏al. 2016).

From this work, four main challenges were ‏identified:

There is minimal evidence of how and ‏when rehabilitation services should ‏be delivered (Mehlhorn et al. 2010), ‏despite an abundance of literature ‏describing the issues for ICU survivors ‏and their families.
The hardships facing ICU patients ‏are often not apparent to hospital ‏management. Readmissions to hospital, ‏increased general practitioner (family ‏physician) visitations and the increased ‏reliance on welfare benefits are distributed ‏amongst a variety of budgets, ‏which do not necessarily appear related ‏to an ICU admission.
Finding staff with the time and ability ‏to do something new that is different ‏from their traditional ICU role can be ‏problematic.
Finding physical space with a suitable ‏area to hold a rehabilitation programme ‏can be difficult.

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