Physical activity and function in survivors of critical illness after discharge from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

  • Natasha Green

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Survival rates for the critical care population in the UK following discharge from acute hospital is extrapolated to be 80.8% (excluding readmissions to the same critical care unit of the same patient within the same acute hospital stay) between 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland [ICNARC – Summary Statistics, 2020]. As a direct result of patients admitted to the ICU, post-ICU patients are susceptible to high levels of physical inactivity, as well as reductions in physical function, exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) that can contribute to a prolonged recovery period that may last for several months or years in some patients. Follow-up provision following critical illness has evolved in different ways around the UK. The availability of these healthcare and support services following critical illness throughout the UK have been reported to play a valuable role in the recovery of physical, emotional and psychological recovery following discharge from the intensive care unit. Currently in Northern Ireland there are no organised rehabilitation services offered to patients after discharge home from critical illness, and the urgent need for research in the area has been highlighted in recent guidelines. There is a paucity of research exploring outcomes specifically related to physical activity and physical function in the post-ICU population; previous post-ICU studies have predominately focused on short-term recovery trajectories (< 6 months). This thesis focuses on survivors of critical illness following hospital discharge (up to 1-year) from the ICU.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorBronagh Blackwood (Supervisor), Danny McAuley (Supervisor) & Judy Bradley (Supervisor)


  • Post-ICU
  • intensive care
  • critical care
  • follow-up
  • physical activity
  • physical function
  • post-hospital discharge
  • exercise
  • physical recovery
  • psychological recovery
  • ICU
  • recovery

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