Research to date has mostly concentrated on problems with walking after discharge from hospital, but this new study shows that shoulder problems are particularly common and persist for at least six months.
The impairment of shoulder function can be severe – often equivalent to that seen with shoulder dislocation – and makes routine tasks very difficult. Any limitations to upper limb function also make it more difficult for patients to support themselves whilst recovering from lower limb problems. This slows down rehabilitation overall.
This study adds to the ongoing research being undertaken in our Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research investigating patient-centred outcomes following critical illness. It has implications for the assessment of function in intensive care unit survivors and for the development of treatment and rehabilitation strategies.