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Resource type: Article

ICU follow up services

What is Intensive Care follow up?

Follow up basically involves Intensive Care staff seeing patients after they've been transferred to the general wards or at an out-patient clinic after they've gone home.Follow up is also sometimes known as "outreach".

Do all Intensive Care Units follow up their patients?

No. Some Intensive Care Units have staff who see patients after Intensive Care and some don't.

Who is involved in follow up?

Some services are led by an Intensive Care doctor and others are led by experienced Intensive Care nurses.

What do they do?

There are a number of things that the follow up staff can do to help you and/or your family members better understand your illness, your time in Intensive Care and any ongoing issues you might have. Different staff can offer different types of support, which may include the following:

  • Information and advice on common problems after Intensive Care: We now know that there are a number of physical and psychological issues associated with recovery after Intensive Care.The staff will have met with a great many patients after Intensive Care and can offer explanation, advice and support on any issues you may have. They may also be able to provide you with leaflets or details of useful organisations and websites.
  • will often have a very good understanding of
  • Emotional support: Recovering after Intensive Care can be a difficult and sometimes lonely process, no matter how much other people try to understand. It can sometimes be difficult to talk to family and friends about how you're feeling because you may be worried about upsetting or burdening them.It can sometimes help to speak with someone completely independent who understands what you've been through and can offer support.
  • Medical note review: The staff will be able to request your medical notes and can go through them with you and explain everything that happened during your time in Intensive Care in easily understandable language. They will do their best to answer any questions you might have. If they are unable to do so, they will consult a colleague who can. You can also ask to see your medical notes through a standard NHS process, but this may require a formal application and sometimes a small fee.
  • Consultation with an Intensive Care doctor: If you or your family member would like to speak with one of the Intensive Care doctors directly involved in your care, the follow up staff can arrange this for you.
  • Return visit to the Intensive Care Unit: Some people find it helpful to make a return visit the Intensive Care Unit either before or after they go home. Patients who have tell us that it helps them to understand how ill they were,  and make sense of
  • Referral to your GP and specialist services: