In the article, ‘COVID-19 and Post-Intensive Care Syndrome: a Call for Action' the authors outline the need for improved care and follow-up for individuals who are discharged from intensive care due to COVID-19. They highlight the need for approaches to prevent and mitigate symptoms of post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).
SE has a unique interdisciplinary approach that could be adapted to team-based care of Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS). PICS has wide-ranging impacts on health and mental health. The symptoms impact neurological functioning, cognitive functioning, emotional functioning, and mental health and increase the risk of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and long-term health.
Three common syndromes can occur post-ICU that have wide-ranging and long-term impacts. The first is Critical Illness Polyneuropathy, a widescale weakness, sensory loss, and paresthesias (burning or tingling sensations in absence of current direct sensory input) in the periphery (legs and arms). The second is Critical Illness Myopathy (CIM), muscle weakness, and difficulty restoring innate breathing pattern and weaning off the ventilator. The third is Post-Intensive Care Syndrome. PICS has cognitive symptoms including challenges with memory, attention, visual-spatial processing, psychomotor activity, and impulsivity.
PICS has common mental health presentations such as: depression, PTSD, and anxiety conditions. PICS has common physical symptoms such as: impaired breathing, pain, sexual health dysfunction, impaired exercise tolerance, muscle weakness, and severe fatigue.
There is an unprecedented cohort of people who have been impacted by PICS and there is a need for developing a widespread approach to follow-up, treatment, and interdisciplinary team-based care for individuals and families affected.
SE has clinical tools that can be adapted to a trauma-informed approach for multiple team members to address the diverse symptoms present such as physical therapy, cognitive rehab, trauma symptom reduction, addressing the interaction between freeze states and physical symptoms, and medical providers. Developing a protocol for team-based care, SE intervention for multiple symptom profiles in PICS, and supporting the re-establishment of innate systemic resilience is an important global health priority.
Stam, H., Stucki, G., & Bickenbach, J. (2020). COVID-19 and Post-Intensive Care Syndrome: a Call for Action. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.