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Hospital  >  Departments  >  Critical Care Medicine  >  Navigating the ICU  >  What happens after the ICU?  >  What can we expect after leaving the hospital?

What can we expect after leaving the hospital?

ICU survivors have a number of experiences:

  • Weakness and difficulty with physical tasks such as walking or climbing stairs. This weakness will usually improve over time, although some people still have a sense that their physical function is not normal;
  • Changes in memory, thinking, or concentration;
  • Changes in mood, such as sadness or anxiety;
  • Memories of the ICU are confusing, unpleasant or frightening. Some people experience “flashbacks” of the ICU stay, which are difficult to understand. For some patients, a diary of the ICU stay kept by a family member may help to reduce these symptoms.

Although these symptoms may be a direct result of the patient’s stay in the ICU, they can also be caused by other medical conditions. If any of these symptoms occur, speak to doctors involved in the patient’s care. Certain tests or treatments may be recommended.

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Location and contact

Critical Care Medicine

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, 
D-wing, 1st floor
room D1 08
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-4522
Fax: 416-480-4999

For information about patients admitted to Sunnybrook's Intensive Care Units, please contact the unit through the hospital switchboard at 416-480-6100