After being critically ill, it may take up to 18 months for patients to fully recover. Some patients go home feeling so weak they may struggle with simple tasks such as getting dressed and moving about, leaving them feeling a loss of independence and low in mood.
In addition they may experience a number of psychological symptoms including nightmares, flashbacks (suddenly remembering, in vivid detail, a past experience), hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety and a loss of confidence. Sleep is imperative to healing but the ex-ICU patient often has trouble going to sleep and/or suffers broken nights.
Relatives often feel at a loss to help. Having sat by their loved ones bed space for weeks, scared they might not make it through, they too are traumatised.
Since 2002 the units have provided a post-ICU follow-up clinic, where some patients and relatives are invited back to meet with an Intensivist and Unit Sister to discuss their critical care pathway, illness and rehabilitation needs.
Please visit the National ICU Steps website this contains a lot of interesting information relevant to ICU patients and relatives.
We have two STEPs groups – Bexhill/Conquest and Eastbourne.
The Bexhill/Conquest group holds meeting at Bexhill Hospital and runs alongside the follow-up clinic. The Eastbourne group holds meetings in the community room at Tesco Eastbourne.
Please see dates below for all meetings and come along.