After ICU Care
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Managing common concerns after leaving the ICU

Recovery from a critical illness takes time.  It depends on how long you were ill and whether things will change once you get better.  Below is a list of some of the common problems and how you can try to manage them.


Your illness and the drugs you received while in the ICU may cause your memory to be hazy or absent.  Try to write down information the staff or your family gives you until your memory returns.

Mood changes

Sadness, anger and poor concentration are common reactions and should go away with time.  It is important to discuss them with your health care team.


You may have temporary changes in your sleeping habits, such as trouble falling asleep or waking up often during the night.  Please tell your nurse if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Body image

After being ill you may look different.  Typical changes may be:

  • swelling of face, arms, legs, etc.
  • weight loss
  • hair loss or thinning
  • skin changes

These changes are often temporary and may improve as your start to eat better and move around more. 

Scars and marks on the skin will fade or disappear over time.

Voice and breathing

A husky voice, wheezing, congestion and shortness of breath are problems that will usually go away in time.  The doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists will monitor this and suggest exercises and other ways to help you get better.  It is important that you let your health care team know if symptoms are not improving.

Tiredness and exercise

It will take time to build up your strength and work out any stiffness in your joints.  The team may suggest exercises that will help you get stronger and better able to move around.


Pain from something you had before you came to the hospital or pain that has happened since you have been in the hospital should be treated right away.  Pain management is important in your recovery.  Please let your nurse know if your pain is not well controlled.


After a critical illness it is common to lose your appetite or your sense of taste.  These changes are generally temporary and will go away once you start eating normally again.  The dietitian can help with your food choices and meal planning.


MoH     PCQO