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Getting home

Getting home is a huge step on the road to recovery. While it is often an enormous relief to be back home, some may find the first few weeks a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in terms of readjusting to everyday life. In this section, we've provided some general information and advice on the common physical and psychological issues you might face,what you can do to help the recovery process along, and the types of help that might be available to you and your family after you get home.We've also included a few short pieces on other people's experience, which we hope you will find helpful.


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Article: Voice changes

Is it common to have voice changes after Intensive Care? Some (but not all) patients notice changes in their voice after Intensive Care. This can include things like developing a whispery or husky voice, or a voice that isn't quite as loud as before. Voice changes are more common among patients who have spent longer on the ventilator or breathing machine, and among those who've had a tracheostomy (a tube inserted through the throat and into the windpipe). Why do I have...

Web Link: Voice problems: find a voice clinic near you

This link will take you to the British Voice Association website, and their directory of NHS voice clinics across the UK. You may need to speak with your ICU follow-up team, your Speech and Language Therapist or GP to get a referral.

Web Link: VolunteerNet (support for carers)

This link will take you to the VolunteerNet website. It's a free, easy and safe way for carers to access support from fully checked, trained and supervised volunteers. You will have to apply to join the service, so that they can help you, but it's a very simple process. What type of support can you ask for? Different types of support include: Practical support such as collecting prescriptions, giving you a lift to the shops or carer support group Spending time with...

Article: When can I get back to driving?

Depending on the type of illness that took you into Intensive Care, there may be no reason why you shouldn't go back to driving. However, if you had a heart attack, for example, you are generally advised not to drive for at least a month afterwards. There may be other reasons for caution around getting back behind the wheel, but if you are in any doubt at all about your ability to drive, please consult your GP and your insurance company. Patients do sometimes tell us that they feel...

Article: When should I go to my GP?

How soon should I go to my GP after I get home? Some patients tell us that they prefer to check in with their GP relatively soon after getting home. Others sometimes feel that they have been "poked and prodded enough" and prefer to have a little "breathing space" after they first get home.You will need no reminding that you've been seriously ill, but please don't ignore any serious symptoms. You will usually have received only a limited supply of any...

Web Link: Young peoples' experiences of ICU and recovery: a video

This link will take you to a webast from ICUsteps, the UK's leading ICU patient-led group. In this webast, Olivia talks about her experiences of having been admitted to Intensive Care multiple times, due to severe asthma. The panel includes Dr Kate Regan (an ICU Consultant), Dr Christina Jones (a former ICU nurse and post-ICU researcher) and Mo Peskett (an ICU follow-up Sister and Chair of ICUsteps). The panel discusses how we can best support younger people, and how we can learn from...

Article: Your GP

Your GP will receive a letter from the Doctors in the Intensive Care Unit, and from the Doctors on the general ward you went to afterwards. In it, your GP will be told about what happened to you. You should be aware that these letters may take some time to reach your GP,sometimes after your first appointment with him or her, so he or she may not always know that you've been so ill or spent time in Intensive Care. Research from colleagues elsewhere in the UK suggests that GPs are...