Intensive Care Syndrome: What It’s All About

Being unwell enough to be admitted into an Intensive Care Unit is distressing for the patient, family and carers.  Once discharged from the ICU and trying to adjust to their normal lives again, patients often report feelings of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.  Reduced mobility and becoming dependent on family are also reported.  These issues can slow the recovery process right down and are not beneficial to the patient.

However, Glasgow Royal Infirmary prototyped an rehabilitation intervention aimed at those who were struggling to settle after they were discharged from an ICU.  This rehabilitation programme is called InS:PIRE (Intensive Care Syndrome:Promoting Independence and Return to Employment) and this five week recovery course aims to help patient knowledge and to gain support from family.

It is led by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, also in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, University of Glasgow and the Scottish Intensive Care Society.

InS:PIRE is the first rehabilitation programme to take into consideration caregivers, this essential to recovery.  The programme was also co-produced by service users.

The project aimed to expand InS:PIRE to several other hospitals in Scotland, dealing with all kinds of patients presenting different needs.

The expansion teams worked on their own patient and family centred groups to recognise local needs and then carried out the intervention and were able to improve and make changes through a series of tests.  Teams then came together and shared their progress and findings with each other in a sequence of national learning sessions.

Between 2016 and 2018, 38 groups of individuals took part across Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Wishaw and Monklands Hospitals, Victoria Hospital, Crosshouse Hospital and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.

The project successfully proved that it was possible to expand the InS:PIRE programme to other hospitals and that it is flexible enough to cater for local needs and demands.  Although faced with many challenges, staff were able to overcome them by working together and working across disciplinary boundaries.


By Lucy Maxwell, Team Reporter




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