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  • Early Mobility, Ongoing Rehabilitation at Center of Media Attention on Post-ICU Care

    Physical therapists (PTs) have long understood that mobility plays a key role in a patient's recovery from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but now national-profile articles are bringing this fact to a much wider audience. In recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic, physical therapy is being identified as 1 of several post-ICU treatments that can reduce the risk of long-term cognitive and physical impairment after stays in the ICU.

    WSJ reported on November 25 on the prevalence of post-intensive care syndrome, a condition that includes brain dysfunction, post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, fatigue, and muscle weakness.

    Researchers quoted for the story pointed to the importance of "hard-core physical and mental rehabilitation" in successful recovery and asserted that "post-ICU patients need the same kinds of occupational and physical therapy as heart attack and stroke survivors."

    A related essay in the November 21 Atlantic by Daniela J. Lamas, MD, touches on the long-term challenges faced by patients treated in ICUs and advocates for treatment approaches that acknowledge that release from the ICU "is not a victory narrative now, but one person's unfinished story."

    The articles echo earlier pieces of reporting that appeared on National Public Radio and other outlets, most of which were sparked by a Vanderbilt University report on post-ICU conditions.

    PTs play a key role in successful treatment of patients in ICUs, recently released from the units, and throughout the post-acute care continuum. APTA offers multiple resources on ICU-related practice, including a video on collaborative care models in the ICU and continuing education on promoting early mobility. The latest evidence-based research, including an article titled "Innovative Mobility Strategies for the Patient With Intensive Care Unit-Acquired Weakness: A Case Report," are available through PTNow, APTA's research access tool.


    • It has become a challenge to convince my rehab manager just how crucial the role of PT OT is in the ICU setting and how important early mobilization is any way you look at it. She is " old school " and like many hospitals, views Rehabilitation I'm the ICU as "low priority" . How can you help provide strong evidence such as a presentation to such individuals to change their views and realize that early rehabilitation is a win win situation for all concerned? Thank you

      Posted by Afsaneh Petrofsky on 12/23/2013 11:08 PM

    • I completely understand, and have been there! Go to: http://www.mobilization-network.org/Network/Welcome.html This website (developed and supported by Johns Hopkins) has a map of individuals that have developed successful ICU early mobility programs. We can function as a resource for assisting you in putting together the business case to support best practice. I am listed in the Atlanta, GA area. Feel free to contact me or any one of us for assistance. Also, please check out: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/pulmonary/research/outcomes_after_critical_illness_surgery/index.html Good luck! Wendy Forman, PT gwendolyn.forman@wellstar.org

      Posted by Gwendolyn Forman -> BFTZAH on 12/25/2013 5:14 AM

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