Coping after critical care
Anybody who has been unwell enough to require critical care input will take a while to return to normal levels of activities, and to cope with the psychological aftermath of having been so ill.
For some patients this is a relatively quick process but for others it can be a challenging and difficult time, particularly if they have been extremely ill, ill for a long time, or are older and have co-existing medical problems that delay recovery.
Family, friends and carers
Family, friends and carers are also affected by the patient’s critical illness and can take time to get back to normal. They can suffer anxiety that the same illness might happen again, frustration and resentment at what the patient put them through, and at their slow recovery. Financial hardship is also a source of worry if the income to the household has been affected by the patient’s or their carer’s inability to work. These are difficult emotions for the family to face up to but help is available for them too, either from their GP or critical care follow-up clinics if available.
The same is also true for those bereaved after someone dies in the ICU, and it is important they know what resources are there to help them at this sad and difficult time.