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Overview of Intensive Care Unit-Related Physical and Functional Impairments and Rehabilitation-Related Devices. Nutr Clin Pract 2018 Apr;33(2):177-184



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85045533167 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   4 Citations


Rehabilitation after critical illness requires a multidisciplinary effort. Nutrition support of critically ill patients aims to correct the imbalance between protein synthesis and protein degradation to maximize strengthening and muscle mass, whereas physical and occupational therapists focus on optimizing strength and mobility through functional activity to help intensive care (ICU) patients return to their precritical illness level of function and improve quality of life. Early mobility has become the new standard of care for ICU patients. Therapists utilize various devices and technologies to increase the feasibility of early mobility and enhance the rehabilitation process to ensure that patients reach their rehabilitation goals. Tools such as electrical stimulation, cycle ergometers, dynamic tilt tables, and resistive bands aid in strengthening. Therapists use safe patient-handling equipment and ambulation aids to address gait impairments. Adaptive toileting, dressing, bathing, and feeding tools facilitate greater independence with activities of daily living. Augmentative and alternative communication devices promote well-being and communication of basic needs. Splints prevent joint contracture and maintain functional range of motion. Overall, many rehabilitation devices are safe and feasible for use in an ICU setting and serve to maximize strength and functional independence. The purpose of this narrative review is to discuss the benefits and limitations of available rehabilitation devices in the context of critical illness rehabilitation goals.

Author List

Koester K, Troeller H, Panter S, Winter E, Patel JJ


Jayshil Patel MD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Critical Illness
Intensive Care Units
Nutritional Support
Patient Care Team