Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS)

Muscle weakness, memory problems, depression, insomnia, physical pain, nightmares. These are just a few examples of the problems that patients may experience following critical illness. Symptoms such as these which affect emotional, physical, and cognitive health are now being recognized as Post Intensive Care Syndrome, or PICS. Efforts to educate health care providers, patients, and families about Post Intensive Care Syndrome are underway. Explore our site to learn more about PICS.

PUBLIC PAGE
Sat, Apr 1, 2017 9:20am

Am I Alone in This?

By Annie, Mayo ICU Nurse Practitioner, @andreab

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One of the common themes heard over and over again from people who have experienced Post Intensive Care Syndrome is that they have wondered:

Am I the only one who feels like this?

The answer is simple - no. In fact, researchers in the BRAIN-ICU study found that 3 months post-ICU discharge, 40% of patients exhibited cognitive dysfunction consistent with what one would experience after suffering from a moderate traumatic brain injury (Jackson et al. The Lancet. Respiratory Medicine, 2(5), 369–379). And in a study done at Mayo Clinic, it was found that of the ICU patients reviewed, 86% of them had at least one risk factor for PICS. It is easy to see that potentially thousands of patients every year who survive critical illness are left to deal with the effects of PICS.

It is because of this that it is so important for those who may be or who are suffering from PICS to know that they are not alone. Day by day, more conversations are being had about what Post Intensive Care Syndrome is and the education initiative is growing strong. Collaboratives such as THRIVE through the Society of Critical Care Medicine are expanding. There are support groups, both in person and online, such as the ones highlighted on this site that are there to make sure people don't experience this recovery alone.

Below is some practical advice to help you step out of the isolation of dealing with this syndrome:

  • Start by knowing you are not alone.
  • Attend a support group - online or in person. Here is the link to our online conversation about PICS. See our support group tab on our page for information regarding our in person support group for PICS held in Rochester, MN.
  • Talk with your primary care provider. Gather information from this site or from other sources regarding PICS so he or she can begin to help you recover to your full potential.
  • Share your stories. Hearing from others who share similar experiences is powerful. Beyond attending support groups, it can be very helpful to simply read what others have experienced. A great collection of stories about ICU experiences and post-ICU life can be found here: ICU Steps

Liked by MPH, Ruud Klerks

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