Posts (47)

4 days ago · Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) - Let's talk in Just Want to Talk

@rckj my apologies for the delay in my response. I have read through all of your posts in this conversation, and I am so thankful to you for sharing your story with all of us. Experiencing critical illness one time is often life changing and traumatic, but to have gone through this multiple times must seem surreal. I imagine one never gets "used to" being critically ill. You also have such a unique situation in that you are yourself a psychologist with expertise in precisely what you are dealing with. I hear you mention concern for your patients and how to manage and juggle the work/life/healing balance. Please know that it is very common for people who have experienced critical illness, to have a delay in returning to work. This is something that is not talked about that much, so often times people think they have to just "toughen up" and get back to work. But the reality is just exactly what you are describing. Even if your physical self has healed, the cognitive difficulties/"fogginess" and emotional wounds can just as easily prevent you from returning to life as it was. The fogginess that you describe is also reflected in what @muriel66 has shared with us as well. You can see you are not alone in this!

4 days ago · Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) - Let's talk in Just Want to Talk

@laci I am so happy you found this conversation. This is exactly where you belong! Sharing your story and listening to others will hopefully be a powerful experience for you in your healing. Your description above fits the definition of PICS nearly down to the word. I am sorry life has taken you on this journey, but am also glad it led you to this group. As you have already experienced, there are some wonderful people here ready to help!

4 days ago · Breaking it Down: Post Intensive Care Sydrome and Risk Factors in Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS)

@carcinoid I am so glad you found this Page. You and your husband are undoubtedly going through and exhaustive and intensely stressful time. One thing we know about critical illness and recovery, is that everyone experiences this so differently. The physical, emotional, and cognitive aftermath is unique to each person. However, despite that there are also incredible similarities as well. @colleenyoung previously mentioned the online discussion group that you might find very helpful. A community of people have come together to share these experiences – knowing you're not alone in this is very powerful. Welcome to the conversation.

Tue, Feb 6 12:31am · Breaking it Down: Post Intensive Care Sydrome and Risk Factors

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Not surprisingly, the top risk factor for developing Post Intensive Care Syndrome is experiencing critical illness or injury. However, beyond that one self-explanatory factor, there is a lot we have yet to learn about risk factors and how they relate to challenges in the post-ICU time period. The following is a list and explanation of some the associated conditions and/or critical care interventions that are currently recognized as risk factors for the development of PICS.

  • Delirium. Of all the risk factors that have been examined at this time, the development of delirium during an ICU stay has been most closely associated with the development of PICS. Delirium itself is a disturbance in a person’s mental abilities. It can cause one to have confused thinking and a decreased awareness of one’s surroundings. Because of it’s significant association to PICS, we will spend more time in future posts specifically dedicated to discussing delirium as it relates to Post Intensive Care Syndrome.
  • Length of time on bedrest. As you recall, one of the areas that PICS can affect is one’s body. This risk factor is directly related to muscle loss and the development of physical weakness. The cycle of weakness can lead to physical pain and fatigue which cycles right back to more immobility and thus increased weakness. It can be a difficult cycle to break.
  • Sepsis. Sepsis is a very serious infection in the body that causes many people to become critically ill. Often times sepsis can cause different organ systems in the body to fail, which in itself is yet another risk factor for PICS.

Other risk factors that are discussed as contributing to this problem include: age, need for a breathing machine while in the ICU, use of sedative medications, preexisting mental health conditions, and others. As the medical community continues to learn more about Post Intensive Care Syndrome, certainly more will be discovered about what places people at risk.

Come back next month when we discuss specific signs and symptoms to look for in Post Intensive Care Syndrome.

In the meantime, join our conversation online. Have you or a loved one experienced critical illness/injury? You’re not alone. Share your story and connect with others who have been on the same journey:

Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) – Let’s Talk

Tue, Jan 30 11:05am · Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) - Let's talk in Just Want to Talk

@muriel66 I am so grateful that you are able to share your experiences here with us. It is incredibly helpful for others to know that they are not alone in facing these challenges. I completely agree that writing can be so therapeutic. It forces us to really examine ourselves and when we can share it publicly and know there is an opportunity to help others, the collateral effect is powerful.

Does anyone else have experiences with writing – whether in a real time diary format during your acute illness, or in a reflective way later on?

Sun, Jan 28 3:43am · Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) - Let's talk in Just Want to Talk

@rckj I am so glad that you found this conversation. Opening up and talking about your experience and ongoing challenges can be so powerful and helpful to recovery. There have been many members of this conversation who have shared that with us. A couple of our most recent comments seem to be very much in line with what you are describing. @jean63 and @rsinger22 – you both shared similar sentiments as @rckj. Do either of you have more insight/words of encouragement or want to share your experience with this?

Thu, Jan 25 10:29am · Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) - Let's talk in Just Want to Talk

It’s been some time since I’ve dropped in and visited with everyone following this thread! I hope this finds you all well. I wanted to make everyone aware of a new monthly “Breaking it Down” series that I am starting regarding Post-Intensive Care Syndrome. You can follow this link to read more: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/newsfeed-post/breaking-it-down-what-exactly-is-post-intensive-care-syndrome/

Feel free to reply directly on that page under the posting or bring any questions or comments back to this forum to discuss more. I hope you will find this informative series helpful!

Thu, Jan 18 11:37am · Breaking it Down: What exactly is Post Intensive Care Syndrome?

infosource

 

Every year, thousands of people across the country experience critical illness and/or injury. As our population ages, and technology advances, this number is expected to grow. In 2012, a collaborative group of experts through the Society of Critical Care Medicine came together to discuss the difficulties that were commonly seen in patients who had experienced critical illness and/or injury. The syndrome was officially recognized and the term “Post-Intensive Care Syndrome” or “PICS” was born.

What it is

Overall, PICS is relatively simple in that it is new or worsening health problems after a stay in the ICU. These health problems can affect the body, mind, and/or emotions and often present after the patient has been discharged from the hospital. These problems may last anywhere from a few weeks, to months, and in some cases even years.

Every year, thousands of people across the nation experience critical illness and/or injury

People with PICS often experience the following:

  • Body: Tiredness, weakness, pain
  • Mind: Forgetfulness, confusion, decreased concentration
  • Emotions: Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, flashbacks, and nightmares

People recovering from critical illness or injury will often experience new physical difficulties. It may be difficult to walk up a flight of stairs, walk out to the mailbox, or even just get around the house. Many people find great difficulty in previous activities such as driving a vehicle. It is not uncommon for people to experience a delay in returning to work or school, and in some cases that return is impossible.

Cognitive changes (or changes to one’s mind) such as forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating, are also experienced by people who have been critically ill/injured. People report difficulty with word finding making communication much more difficult than it had previously been.  Unlike physical weakness and debility, problems with one’s mind are not so readily recognized by others, making this even more of a burden on those experiencing it. It is not uncommon for the person affected by cognitive changes to try to hide these problems.

The emotional affects of critical illness/injury can be long lasting. Often the illness and/or injury itself that resulted in an ICU stay creates anxiety. There is worry about the illness coming back or the injury happening again. A stay in the ICU is often the very first time that people are faced with the reality of just how fragile life can be. Depression, sleep disturbances, and vivid nightmares are also reported.

Stay tuned to next month’s blog to learn about risk factors for the development of Post-Intensive Care Syndrome.

In the meantime, join our conversation online. Have you or a loved one experienced critical illness/injury? You’re not alone. Share your story and connect with others who have been on the same journey:

Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) – Let’s Talk