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Common physical issues

In this section, we've provided some general information and advice on some of the common physical issues you may face after getting home. These commonly include general weakness, tiredness, difficulty getting around (mobility), poor appetite and difficulty putting on weight.Not everyone is affected by these issues, though. Everyone is different, and it can very much depend on how fit and healthy you were before you ended up in Intensive Care and how long you were there for.


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Article: Balance issues

Patients sometimes tell us that they continue to have issues with balance after they go home. This can be due to a number of things including muscle wasting and weakness and numbness or tingling in the feet or legs. Some patients also suffer from a temporary loss of confidence when they first get home, although this seems to pass quite quickly in most cases.

External Document: Breathing exercises for breathlessness

This leaflet provides information about different breathing techniques that might help with feelings of breathlessness.

Article: Breathlessness

Is it common to feel breathless after Intensive Care? Breathlessness is common after Intensive Care. It is particularly common after COVID-19. Why do I feel breathless? COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, which means that it affects your breathing.Spending time on a ventilator in Intensive Care may also have caused weakness in your muscles, including those that help you breathe, so they are a bit weaker and you have to work a bit harder with breathing. You can quickly lose your ability...

Web Link: Breathlessness & pulmonary rehabilitation

Breathlessness is common after having been in Intensive Care with COVID-19. This link will take you to the British Lung Foundation's page on pulmonary rehabilitation: a programme of exercise and education for people with respiratory or breathing issues. Your GP, practice nurse or respiratory team can refer you for pulmonary rehabilitation. Ask them if it's right for you and what’s available in your area. If pulmonary rehabilitation isn't right for you, the website provides...

Web Link: Breathlessness: Asthma UK & British Lung Foundation COVID Hub

Breathlessness seems to be common after being in Intensive Care with COVID-19. We're not yet sure whether this is an effect of the virus itself, an effect of having been so ill, or a side effect of having been on a ventilator This link will take you to the COVID-19 Hub of the Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, with all of the latest information on coping with breathlessness. You can speak with one of their respiratory specialists by phone or whatsapp. You can also sign up to...

Web Link: Breathlessness: positions that help

This link will take you to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals' excellent online resource on recovery after COVID-19. This section includes short videos from healthcare professionals on breathing control, and positions that may help with breathlessness. You can access the full resource here

Web Link: Breathlessness: what it is and how to manage it

This link will take you to the British Lung Foundation website. There's some really useful information on how to manage breathlessness, including treatment, breathing exercises, staying active, etc. You can enter your postcode into their website to find support in your local area. We hope you find it helpful.

External Video: Common issues after getting home

In this video, Anne talks about her role as a follow up nurse at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. She sees patients after they've been discharged from hospital and talks about the common issues patients and families face during this time.

Web Link: Deep breathing & clearing your lungs

This link will take you to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals' excellent online resource on recovery after COVID-19. This section includes short videos from healthcare professionals on deep breathing exercise and other techniques that will help you to clear your lungs. You can visit the full resource here

Web Link: Energy: how to conserve it

When you are ill or recovering from an illness, you are likely to have less energy and feel tired.This link will take you to expert guidance from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and their top tips for people recovering after COVID-19. The guide wil help you find ways to conserve your energy as you go about your day, so that you have more energy to do the things you want. They offer simple, really sensible advice on things like washing and dressing, cooking, shopping, laundry...