With technological advances in critical care medicine over the last decade, the rates of survival of patients who are critically unwell have rapidly increased. Despite the successful rehabilitation of patients in critical care, research has shown that some patients develop physical, neurological and psychological symptoms and this is now recognised as Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS). Further research is underway to fully understand the long-term effects of PICS and the impact this has on the quality of life for patients and their families.
The volume and dependency of the critical care survivors has highlighted the lack of a cohesive, comprehensive and integrated national care pathway for patients and carers. The patients have complex care needs and as we gain a deeper insight into the damage COVID19 is causing to individuals' physiology, we need a mechanism to both support their immediate functional needs (physical and psychological) and to track their potentially emerging deficits.
Patients that demonstrate or develop symptoms for PICS should be managed by multidisciplinary teams which is resource heavy and difficult to coordinate. These teams will often include a combination of critical care physicians, physiotherapists and respiratory therapists. By effectively identifying patients that could develop PICS, the post rehabilitation team can develop a complete post ICU recovery plan to help patients in pursuing life and daily activities to the best of their ability.
Since the start of the Pandemic, initial research into PICS has been expedited because of long COVID symptoms. Effective screening of patients and early intervention indicates that post-ICU patients have the same rehabilitation needs of those without COVID.
PICS is now being recognized as a major public health crisis, because of the associated deficits and long-term health implications presented by patients who have been through the ICU care pathway. A nationwide initiative is mandatory to help support the recovery of patients after their life saving treatment in intensive care rehabilitation, as highlighted by the faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.
In support of this nationwide PICS initiative, we are pleased to announce that we are working on a project funded by Innovate UK to raise awareness of this critical service needed by a growing number of individuals post intensive care rehabilitation.
To help support the introduction of a nationwide community rehabilitation programme, can we please request if you can sign the petition.