PT’s Role with Post-intensive Care Syndrome

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PTs Key in Addressing PICS in COVID-19 Survivors

With thousands of Americans leaving intensive-care units after brutal bouts with COVID-19, post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) is becoming an increasing concern. In an online article, the University of Buffalo noted that at least half of all patients leaving ICUs typically will experience problems with physical function, cognition or mental health, and that statistic likely will hold true for COVID-19 patients too.

Dr. Patricia Ohtake, associate professor in physical therapy at UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, told the school’s website that PICS doesn’t get enough attention from health-care providers, so patients sometimes don’t get prescribed adequate rehabilitation services. She’s the lead author of a paper published in Physical Therapy Journal that offers best practices for managing PICS in patients. Due to its relevance to the coronavirus pandemic, the paper was published ahead of schedule.

Ohtake told the school’s website that physical therapy can help PICS patients recover at home, so researchers hope the paper raises awareness about PICS with physical therapists in home- and community-based practices.

“This paper discusses the evidence-based rehabilitation of people with post-intensive care syndrome and is particularly significant right now,” Ohtake said in the article. “While the manuscript draws from literature investigating people who have survived general, medical, surgical, respiratory, trauma, cardiac and neurological ICU care, the content is also likely relevant to people recovering from ICU care required due to COVID-19 infection.”





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