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The hospital wards

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected UK hospitals in many different ways.Some Units have been quieter, and have been able to keep their patients in Intensive Care as long as they normally would. Others will have been exceptionally busy, and may have had no option but to transfer their most recovered patients to the hospital wards a little more quickly than normal. The wards will also vary greatly in terms of how much rehabilitation and follow-up they are able to offer. 

In this section, we've provided some general information and advice on common physical and psychological issues issues during the ward stage of recovery, the types of staff involved in your care (who they are and what they do) and what to expect in terms of getting you home. We've also included sections on other people's experiences and frequently asked questions. We hope you find it helpful.


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External Video: Pacing for Pain

Video length: 04:30 (Watch now or tap the button above to add this resource to your personal library to watch later) This short clip will explain how pacing your activities may help to manage any pain that you are experiencing.

Document: Pacing information booklet

This booklet about pacing has been written for people with ME or chronic fatigue. However the fatigue that you may be experiencing associated with being in Intensive Care can be managed with pacing in the same way. The booklet contains a wealth of information about the concept of pacing that you can apply to your 'post intensive care fatigue'. 

Article: Pharmacist

The pharmacy team includes clinical pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and sometimes pharmacy assistants.One of their key roles is to make sure that the medications you are taking are as safe as possible (e.g. in terms of the dose, the way it's given, how often it's given, if there are any side effects, or if any of the drugs you're taking interact with one another) and tailored to your individual needs.They will be able to answer any questions you might have about your...

Article: Physiotherapist

What does a physiotherapist do on the ward? Physiotherapy has a very important role in recovery and rehabilitation after Intensive Care. The physiotherapist works very closely with all the other members of the ward staff to make sure that you are recovered enough to cope at home. The two main things that the physiotherapist can help with are breathing exercises and mobility (eg walking). Why might I need to see a physiotherapist after Intensive Care? Some patients still require oxygen...

Article: Physiotherapy: what can family do to help on the ward?

Common problems after Intensive Care Patients are often immobile (lying still) for much of their time in Intensive Care, sometimes resulting in general stiffness or painful joints, especially in the knees and shoulders. They can also lose muscle as a result of being so ill, especially in the legs, which often results in general weakness and problems with mobility. This can mean that patients may become tired or short of breath when beginning to mobilise on the general ward. Not...

Article: Poor concentration

Patients often tell us that they suffer from poor concentration after Intensive Care. You might struggle to read a newspaper or a book, for example, or you might struggle to follow a television programme or film. Patients also tell us that they often lose interest or "can't be bothered" with some of the things they really enjoyed before, such as listening to music or watching football on the television.This is usually temporary and will start to improve as you recover. It...

Article: Problems sleeping

It’s very common to have problems sleeping after being transferred to the general wards, even though you may feel very tired. You may be surprised at how tired you feel, even though you may not have done much during the day. Some patients may feel tired after doing simple things like taking a shower or having gentle physiotherapy. You might struggle to get to sleep, have broken sleep, sleep for much longer than usual or sleep at different times than you normally would...

Web Link: Psychological support for older people & families

This link will take you to the MindEd website, and their mental health resources to help support older people, and those who care for them. There are some easily understandable advice and self-help resources on dealing with issues like anxiety and depression (including information on medication), poor sleep, loneliness, stress, physical activity, etc.

External Video: Rehabilitation on the wards

In this video, Leanne talks about her role as a Rehabilitation Assistant, working with patients after Intensive Care.She talks about the physical and psychological issues patients commonly face after transfer to the general wards and the type of help to expect. She also gives advice on some of the things patients and family members can do to help the recovery process along.

Web Link: Shoulder pain, and exercises that might help

It's not uncommon to experience some shoulder stiffness, and sometimes pain, after Intensive Care. This is often because the shoulder joint has not been moving much while you or your family member was very unwell, so the joint becomes stiff. This link will take you to an NHS webpage, with some simple exercises that you can try.