Post-ICU Recovery

The process of recovering from a critical illness may involve many physical and emotional challenges, including muscular weakness, anxiety, stress and depression.

To help patients transition from being cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU) to normal daily life, UC San Diego Health offers medical services specifically designed to address and treat health challenges common among those recently discharged from intensive care.

Our medical experts include pulmonologists with specialty training in intensive care, as well as critical care pharmacists with expertise in medications administered in the ICU. Together, they work to ensure that patients receive the highest level of post-ICU care in an outpatient setting.

Post-ICU Recovery Services

Our health care team offers a wide range of services, including:

  • Assessment of neurocognitive function, with referrals as needed for more complete testing.
  • Screening for anxiety, depression and stress-related disorders, with referrals as needed for more complete testing.
  • Review of all currently prescribed medications to determine whether medications that might have been started in the ICU still need to be taken.
  • Review of hospitalization and discharge records to ensure that all recommended follow-up testing is being completed.
  • Evaluation of sleep problems, such as insomnia.
  • Breathing and other exercise testing as needed.

After each visit, our pulmonologists send a report to the person's primary care physician to help coordinate their care. Any medical specialists involved in the person's care are also kept updated on the person's care status. 

As the region's only academic medical center, our physicians are also actively involved in research to help improve the care of patients in the ICU and beyond.