Post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) occurs when individuals do not return to their former level of functioning after an ICU stay. The syndrome can persist for months or years, increasing the risk for readmission and reducing quality of life.
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) recently launched a clinic that aims to help people recover their full potential more quickly after leaving the ICU. Dubbed SPIRIT (Successful Post-ICU Recovery Interprofessional Team), the clinic accepts referrals for medical-surgical and cardiac ICU patients at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest and LVH–Muhlenberg.
“Our goal is to help post-ICU patients get back to the best state possible, as soon as possible,” says Dorothea “Dotti" Watson, DO, the pulmonary and critical care physician who leads the SPIRIT program. The clinic staff also includes a physical therapist, occupational therapist, critical care pharmacist, clinical social worker and clinic coordinator.
Patients at risk for PICS are typically identified and referred to the SPIRIT program while in the ICU. However, they also can be referred post-discharge. Eligible individuals must have rehabilitative potential and meet one of these criteria:
- ICU length of stay: five days or longer
- Ventilator treatment: three days or longer
- Positive ICU assessment for delirium
A one-time visit to the SPIRIT clinic occurs about four weeks after discharge to home. During the two-hour appointment, the team screens for issues with mobility, breathing, medications and mental health, and then makes referrals for needed services. A support group for SPIRIT patients also will be starting soon.