Critical care or intensive care is the medical supervision for people with severe life-threatening conditions or injuries. It usually occurs in the intensive care unit (ICU). Intensive care works on various types of equipment to provide life support, monitor vitals, resuscitation, and specialized treatments.
Who requires intensive care?
People need critical or intensive care for life-threatening illnesses or injuries, such as:
- Severe burn
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Brain stroke
- Kidney failure
- Post-operative recovery from major surgery
- Serious infections
- Respiratory failure
- Grievous-bodily damage, including car crashes, gunshot wounds, falls, or multiple fractures.
What are the critical care effects?
After the discharge from ICU, patients with critical illness suffer from many post-treatment complications. It takes more time to recover for survivors of life-threatening situations. But with time, many of these symptoms improved with proper care and rehabilitation. Sometimes, the patient may experience long-term impairment.
The patient may experience various impairments after the discharge from the ICU, collectively known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). The patient commonly feels physical weakness, difficulty breathing, tiredness, aches, and continuous dependency on others for every task. Along with these physical symptoms, a patient may experience thinking impairment, anxiety, loneliness, difficulty sleeping, and emotional breakdown. After an injury, there may be chances of permanent functional disability, further complicating the recovery process.
Not only patients but their family members also suffer from the trauma. It can cause anxiety, stress, fear, and fatigue due to difficulty balancing the hospital, work, and home life.
How can you help your loved ones recover?
Recovery after critical care is a long process for patients, both physically and mentally. With advancements in the medicinal field, healthcare providers focus on the short-term and long-term effects of treatment in intensive care units. Following are several things you can do to fasten the recovery:
- Need for palliative care: After discharge, the patient experienced multiple symptoms, which need constant care and management. The palliative care team helps manages these symptoms and provides emotional and mental comfort.
- Communication: Emotional and mental issues can take a longer recovery time than physical symptoms. After discharge from ICU, many patients suffer stress, anxiety, and depression and fail to express their thoughts. As their family members, try to be patient with them and assure them you are with them. Communication is a key to successful post-critical care improvement. Listening to their needs, complaints, or emotional breakdown is more helpful. Speak calmly and make short statements so that they can easily understand. Hold your loved one’s hand and gently touch them to give a positive assurance.
You can openly discuss with the healthcare providers what is going on with your loved one, the treatment course, and the outcome hope.
- Manage the medications: The doctor often prescribes medicines after discharge from ICU. So, you can record timing, dosage, and which drugs should not mix, as many medicines interact with each other. So you should be attentive about the prescription and gives medications to your loved one with utmost care.
- Care of drainage tubes: Many patients post-discharge from hospitals have catheters, urinary bags, or drainage bags. From time to time, clearing bags, changing catheters, or cleaning the bag adherent area is critical to prevent further infections.
- Operational site care: After discharge, proper care of the injury site or operation area is a must for better recovery. You can clean the affected area according to the doctor’s instructions. While handling the affected area, show them you care and not do this as a responsibility.
- Diet care: After consulting the healthcare provider about what type of diet and nutritional requirement of the patient, you can prepare a diet schedule. The patient needs a nutrition-rich diet to recover from weakness and discomfort. With the help of a balanced diet and your love, the journey to recovery becomes easy.
- Schedule the hospital re-visits: A hospitalization due to injury or critical illness needs regular check-ups and post-treatment follow-ups. So, arrange a visit according to the patient’s necessity.
- Hygiene maintenance: After hospital discharge, the patient’s immunity becomes very weak. They become prone to various infections. Maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness of their body and surroundings prevent them from getting infections. Always wear masks and gloves while handling their affected areas, catheters, or cleaning them. Avoid unnecessary visits of relatives as they can be a carrier of various infections.
With this basic knowledge, you can help our loved ones a faster physical recovery and can give more emotional support. While taking care of your loved one, don’t forget to take care of yourself, as it may be a long road to recovery.