Post-ICU syndrome signals need for better transition between life-saving care and return to life

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  • brandy n says:

    I had recently got surgery for a pituitary tumor in January in that time January 5 before that I was in recent reunification home from September it was a six month program with my three children which are back in foster care due to the pituitary tumor recovery and it has significant psychological effects on my ability to manage day-to-day life at that time with no support I reached out to my surgeon with no recovery Transition plan out of the hospital and I lost my house I lost it out of the reunification with apprehension papers for me the children so no support after my transition out of the hospital after my surgery now Im in a healthier place in my life but it isn’t right for child services to not support my children and i in that detrimental time in our quality to life but i’m getting counseling finding housing and here looking for support

  • Doreen Rockliff says:

    Is this the right type of space to seek ICU/Sepsis survivors in Calgary who may be interested in establishing a support group? It has been 6 years since my sepsis event but recovery was delayed due to further surgery over the following 2 years. The AHS Living Well program assisted physical recovery to a certain point but the extended effects of post ICU have left me feeling the need of mutual support from those who have also experienced this monumental change to one’s life.

    • Pete Oxland says:

      Doreen, you have asked a really good question. I sense that exchanging ideas through this website may be somewhat helpful – yet, am wondering if there would be value in asking those leading our Alberta Health Services Critical Care Strategic Clinical Network about this. What do you think?

  • Alies Maybee says:

    Astounding changes since my time in ICU in 1972 after a near fatal car accident! I was discharged home after a month with zero supports beyond weekly rehab visits I could barely attend. I couldn’t get in and out of a chair or bed without help, hardly feed myself and was alone all day while my husband worked. No one told me about brain fog so I thought I had brain damage because I couldn’t make sense of what I read for around 3 years. It was impossible for me to finish Bleak House (apt name!) and resume my university course. And yet I was lucky long term. I have informally shared with people going through similar experiences so they don’t feel alone or crazy.

    These changes can dramatically alter people’s lives by removing the feeling of isolation and fear of being crazy as well as providing practical supports. Such a great step.

  • Drew Cumpson says:

    As I read this article tonight, I am currently laying in ICU at Kingston General Hospital. I have spent almost 2 full years in and out of the ICU here at KGH. I have lived through some crazy things over the past 6 ½ years and am thankful that I always have to return to the ICU unit at KGH. A lot of the ICU attendings have been taking care of me since my accident on May 10, 2011 in Lima Peru. The teams are great at listening to what I have to say as they know, I know my body well. If you would like to know more about my story, you can check out my Faces of Healthcare articles here at Healthy Debate.

  • Laurie Proulx says:

    As someone who has also suffered a life-threatening illness, this article really hits the nail on the head. As you note in the experience of Nadine Foster, I too was utterly exhausted for 6-8 weeks post-ICU discharge and it was hard to get back into real life. I also had a newborn baby to care for. If you’re ever looking for a patient to communicate their experience, I would be more than happy to speak with all of you!

  • Doreen Rockliff says:

    As a former ICU sepsis patient, now almost six years out, I would welcome a chance to have access to a support group. Being fortunate in my family and family doctor support I have managed to recover some quality of life but I still feel the need to talk to fellow survivors. They are the only people who can really understand.

  • Elaine Rose says:

    I recall this being talked about, as something to investigate, over 30 years ago. I am so glad it is moving ahead. Having worked ICU for almost my entire nursing career I understand the importance. However, it wasn’t until a recent hospital stay (not in ICU, but receiving a lot of pain medication), that I have an even better understanding of what ICU patients might go through following their discharge from the ICU, & then home.
    I’d have loved to have had the opportunity to participate in such a program as an ICU nurse. So much to learn, & so much help to be provided.

  • Jill McLauchlin says:

    Fabulous article and so very true, having spent over 30 years as an ICU RN I have seen it all. I would so love to be involved in the RECOVER program!


Karen Palmer


Karen is the Destination Development and Marketing Coordinator at The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward.

Christopher Doig


Christopher is a Professor in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine, Community Health Sciences, and Medicine at Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

Mike Tierney


Mike is the Vice President of Clinical Programs at Ottawa Hospital.

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