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Common physical issues

In this section, we've provided some general information and advice on some of the common physical issues you may face after getting home. These commonly include general weakness, tiredness, difficulty getting around (mobility), poor appetite and difficulty putting on weight.Not everyone is affected by these issues, though. Everyone is different, and it can very much depend on how fit and healthy you were before you ended up in Intensive Care and how long you were there for.


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Article: Balance issues

Patients sometimes tell us that they continue to have issues with balance after they go home. This can be due to a number of things including muscle wasting and weakness and numbness or tingling in the feet or legs. Some patients also suffer from a temporary loss of confidence when they first get home, although this seems to pass quite quickly in most cases.

Article: Breathlessness

Is it common to feel breathless after Intensive Care? Breathlessness after Intensive Care is very common. Why do I feel breathless? The time you spent in Intensive Care may have caused weakness in your muscles, including those that help you breathe, so they are a bit weaker and have to work a bit harder to help with your breathing. Also while in Intensive Care you can quickly lose your ability to exercise, so while running for a bus may have made you breathless before, after...

External Video: Common issues after getting home

In this video, Anne talks about her role as a follow up nurse at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. She sees patients after they've been discharged from hospital and talks about the common issues patients and families face during this time.

External Video: Exercises and Physiotherapy to help recovery

In this clip physiotherapist, Dr Bronwen Connolly explains how critical illness affects joints and muscles to cause joint stiffness and fatigue and how you can practice certain types of exercises to help you recover.

Article: Eye problems after Intensive Care

Some people develop problems with their eyes after Intensive Care.This commonly includes conditions called corneal abrasion (a painful scratch on the surface of the clear part of the eye) and keratitis (inflammation of the clear part of the eye).Symptoms include sore, dry or gritty eyes which can last for a few weeks after Intensive Care. If your symptoms are particularly troublesome or don't seem to be getting better, speak to your doctor, GP or optician.

Article: Feeling weak

Is it normal to feel so weak? Yes. It is very common to feel weak and washed out in the first few weeks and months after getting home, even if you were previously fit and well. From what other people have told us, it seems that the legs are most severely affected by weakness, but you may also notice weakness in your arms, hands and shoulders. Going home usually means that you will be starting to do more for yourself than you did in hospital, and this may leave you feeling tired and...

Web Link: Getting out and about for wheelchair users: Euan's guide

This link will take you to a website called Euan's Guide. It was originally developed by, with and for disabled people (particularly wheelchair users). Euan's guide is a site where patients and their families can find a list of wheelchair accessible places and add honest reviews about their experiences of visting them.Even if you're only using a wheelchair temporarily, it's good to hear about local bars, shops, hotels, coffee bars, visitor attractions, etc that have...

Article: Hair loss

Article length: 1 minute (Read now or tap the button above to add this resource to your personal library to read later) Is hair loss common after Intensive Care? Some (but not all) patients experience hair loss or thinning in the weeks and months after Intensive Care. What can I do about hair loss or thinning? Hair loss can be upsetting as it may affect your appearance and confidence. Ask your barber, hairdresser or pharmacist or GP about any products that might help. Your barber...

Article: Hearing loss

A small number of patients may experience hearing loss after Intensive Care. We're not quite sure why this happens, but it may be a side effect of some of the medication you were given in Intensive Care.

Web Link: Hearing loss-information and advice

Some patients experience hearing loss after Intensive Care. This link will take you to the Hearing link website.They provide information, advice and support for people experiencing heraring loss and their family members.