Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Customised care

Post Intensive Care Syndrome


Physiotherapy, Dietetics and Occupational Therapy have been collaborating over recent years to develop an optimal healthcare programme for patients with Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS). This case is an example of PICS symptomatology and focuses on the collaboration between Physiotherapy and Dietetics. What is PICS? Owing to healthcare improvements, more and more patients are surviving the intensive Care Unit (ICU), and recovery during and after ICU stay has been receiving more attention [1, 2]. Approximately 30% of the patients admitted to an ICU have persistent symptoms including muscle weakness, reduced walking ability, fatigue, concentration deficits, memory problems, malnutrition, sleep and mood disorders sometimes even years after discharge [3-8]. Since 2012, this combination of physical, cognitive and psychiatric manifestations and reduced quality of life after staying in an ICU has been recognised as Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) [9]. The impact of PICS is often not limited to the patient as it may also impact the mental status of the patient’s immediate family. This is known as PICS-Family (PICS-F) [10-12]. Treatment of PICS: Approximately 80% of PICS patients need primary care physiotherapy. Physiotherapists and GPs are often the only primary care professionals involved in the recovery process of these patients after hospital discharge [13, 14]. Both patients and healthcare professionals report a number of difficulties, e.g. limited transmural continuity in healthcare, coordination of multidisciplinary activities, supportive treatment guidelines and specific knowledge of pathology, treatment and prognosis. Patients report that they are not adequately supported when resuming their professional activities and that medical and allied healthcare treatments do not fully meet their needs at that time [15-18]. The REACH project: In order to improve the situation, the REACH project (REhabilitation After Critical illness and Hospital discharge) was started in Amsterdam region in the Netherlands. Within REACH, a Community of Practice – consisting of professionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians), those who live or have lived with the condition and researchers – has developed a transmural rehab programme. A special attribute of this programme is the integration of the concept of “positive health”. The case in this article describes the treatment of a PICS patient treated within the REACH network.

Reference van Tol, B., Detting, D., Kruizenga, H., Pellegrom, S., Major-Helsloot, M., Siebel, M., & van der Schaaf, M. (2021). Customised care: Post Intensive Care Syndrome. Kompass Nutrition & Dietetics, 1, 27-30. https://doi.org/10.1159/000513300
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 January 2021

Publication date

Jan 2021


Daniëla Detting
Hinke Kruizenga
Sanne Pellegrom
Mel Major-Helsloot
Marjolein Siebel


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