One of the aims of ICUsteps is to highlight the fact that recovery from critical illness does not end on discharge from hospital. Even once they’re back in their own home, the ramifications of critical illness can mean that recovery can take up to a year or even longer. Most of the clinicians working with critically ill patients are well aware of the longer term effects but once the patient leaves the ICU the support they need to help them overcome these recognised issues is patchy to say the least. A survey in 2007 found that only 30% of intensive care units run follow-up clinics and the drop-in sessions run by ICUsteps in Milton Keynes are currently the only ones of their kind in the country.
Progress is being made in advancing care in this area and in 2009 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will be publishing a guideline on Critical Illness Rehabilitation. ICUsteps are registered as a stakeholder in this guideline and are represented on the guideline’s development group.
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Some of the media coverage we've received can be seen here.
Milton Keynes Citizen newspaper article
A MOUNTAIN biker, who spent three weeks in intensive care with potentially life-threatening injuries following an accident in Aspley Guise Woods, has helped set up a support group for other ex-patients.
Peter Gibb, aged 36, was airlifted to Milton Keynes General Hospital after attempting a jump and landing on his head, causing a brain haemorrhage.
Now, more than three years after the accident, Peter has joined up with other former patients to form a support group called ICUsteps (Intensive Care Unit Support Team for Ex-Patients).
Peter, a website developer, said: "There are psychological issues which follow from being in ICU. After your stay there you are then moved into a general ward and you do not know what the hell is going on.
"The drugs cause hallucinations and post-traumatic stress is often a side effect." The group, which is applying for charitable status, has regular drop-in sessions and its motto is "empathy not sympathy".
They also help relatives whose loved ones have been in intensive care.
Peter can remember nothing of the day of his accident and his last memory is persuading his friend to buy a t-shirt at a Placebo gig at London's Brixton Academy the night before.
"I don't remember anything until waking up in ICU, two weeks later," he said. "Everything you take for granted in your life is gone and you wake up with a part of your life missing. Even though I started getting memories you are not awake again. It was really patchy for four to six months."