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Common physical issues

In this section, we've provided some general information and advice on the physical issues patients commonly face during the ward stage of recovery. These include things like general weakness, weight loss, tiredness, joint pain and problems with mobility. Everyone is different. You may or may not experience these issues and they may be more severe or troublesome to some patients than others. Many of these issues will improve over the weeks and months after Intensive Care.

 

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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...

External Video: Breathlessness: how "pacing" can help

This short clip will explain how a technique known as "pacing" may help feelings of breathlessness. You might also find the booklets on bodily positions to help breathlessness, breathing control and how to conserve your energy helpful in dealing with breathlessness.

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

Document: Breathlessness-breathing exercises

This booklet outlines some of the breathing techniques that can be used to help breathlessness. Try out the different approaches. Controlled breathing can be particularly useful if you are feeling very breathless.

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: Eating well during recovery

Many patients lose weight during their time in Intensive Care, despite our best efforts to support nutrition using tubes (a nasogastric or NG tube) or drips providing liquid feed (called Total Parenteral Nutrition or TPN). This is particularly the case for patients who have spent slightly longer in ICU, and some patients also experience taste changes, with food tasting bland, salty or metallic.This link will take you to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals' excellent online resource on...

Web Link: Exercises to keep you mobile

People who spend time in Intensive Care often experience tiredness (fatigue), muscle wasting and joint stiffness. This is particularly so for patients who have spent longer in ICU. This link will take you to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals' excellent online resource on recovery after COVID-19. This section includes a short video from a physiotherapist, and some short videos of simple exercises that you can do in bed, while sitting in a chair, and standing. You can access the full resource...

Web Link: Fatigue (tiredness) after COVID-19

Fatigue (tiredness) is a normal part of the body’s response to fighting a viral infection such as COVID-19 (sometimes called post-viral fatigue). It's also very comon after any serious or critical illness, and may last for some time. You may find that you sleep more, are perhaps a little shaky on your feet, and that your concentration and memory are affected. This link will take you to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists' expert guidance on managing fatigue while...

External Video: Fatigue (tiredness): how "pacing" can help

This short clip will explain how the technique of pacing may be used to manage any fatigue (tiredness) that you may be experiencing.

External Video: George's experience of ward care

In this video, George talks about his experiences of care on the wards after Intensive Care. He also talks about his experiences of discharge planning.