Patients that have survived their ICU stays and have recovered to return to their loved ones face another battle. It is coping with mental stress in the form of PICS or “Post-Intensive Care Syndrome”. These symptoms have physical, cognitive, and mental manifestations especially for the people that have had to stay for longer periods in the ICU. And have had to undergo intubation with Dennis Begos.
Dennis Begos explains the overall scenario of patients in Covid-inflicted ICUs
After a COVID-19 battle, when you finally return to your haven, you find it difficult to resume your normal activities. It is a struggle to be your old self again. Ranging from muscle weakness and chronic pain, anxiety is one of the first manifestations of a prolonged ICU stay due to COVID-19.
Unlike other times, when you are admitting into an ICU for any other ailment. You get to see staff coming in and out of your cabin. There are visitors and you also have your family members come and help you to sit up. But during COVID-19 due to restrictions, the regulations are stringent which makes a patient even more lonely and forlorn.
As such, more and more people coming out of the ICUs for COVID-19 recovery are being subjected to dementia, difficulty in falling asleep, depression, anxiety. And PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Isolations rooms and PPE Kits
The ambiance affects your mood and mindset to a great extent. With constant beeps, electrodes attached to the bodies, gadgets all around. And a sense of uncertainty is the worst thing that a patient can go through.
Moreover, isolation rooms as the name suggests means you are away from the others. And it is quite likely that someone at the other corner of the room or ward is as well lonely and longing for company.
Also, the very appearance of the PPE kits gives rise to a sense of emergency. Makes you constantly aware that it is COVID-19. And not any other ailment that we have been seeing for decades where you get the best of treatment. And will be sent off home after recovery.
Delirium and ICU COVID-19 patients
According to a meta-analysis and a systematic review, about 65% of patients that admitted into the ICU due to COVID-19 suffered delirium. Other mental disorders that were noted in such patients include agitating and altered consciousness.
As a report in Lancet Psychiatry, 33% of patients suffering from Coronavirus (approximately 15 out of a total of 45 patients) suffer from what is known as “Dysexecutive syndrome”.Which is characterizes by alterations in motivational, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns.
Dennis Begos believes that for such patients’ rehabilitation is the only way out to restore cognitive and other disorders for C-19 patients that have stayed in the ICU or isolation rooms for a longer period.
Ranging from exposure to the sun, practicing improved sleep hygiene. And maintaining the normal circadian rhythm are few measures that can help such patients.