What Exactly Is Post-Intensive Care Syndrome?

Post Intensive Care Syndrome

Each year, thousands of individuals in the US suffer from critical injuries and illnesses. According to studies, as the population grows and ages, experts expect this number to also increase.

Bearing this in mind, a team of specialists collaborated to review the most common difficulties experienced by individuals following a critical injury and illness. They came up with an official name for these difficulties and called it the Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS).

Post-Intensive Care Syndrome

In general, PICS is characterized by new, or worsening, symptoms and health issues after staying in the intensive care unit (ICU), explains Landmarkhospitalsaltlake.com, a top long-term acute care hospital in Davis County.

These health issues could negatively impact the body, emotions and mind, and they usually surface after discharging a patient from an ICU. These health problems might last anywhere from several weeks to a couple of months — and even years in some instances.

The Effects of PICS

Recovering individuals usually experience new difficulties in their physical abilities. One might find it hard to walk up and down the stairs, clean their house, drive their car or just move around in general.

They might likewise find it difficult or downright impossible to go back to school or work. In addition, they could also begin having nightmares, flashbacks, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression.

There’s also a chance of experiencing cognitive changes, including concentration difficulties and forgetfulness. Some patients even report trouble constructing sentences, which makes communication harder and increases feelings of anxiety and depression.

Additionally, unlike physical debility and weakness, cognitive issues aren’t easy to recognize, which makes it even more burdensome for those who experience it and don’t quite understand why. It’s the reason these people tend to hide these cognitive changes.

Main Takeaways

Post-intensive care syndrome and its effects could be long-lasting. Add to that the fear that patients feel about the possibility of their injury or illness recurring. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of PICS, speak to a doctor about care options that would be most suitable for your needs.