Activity 16.7: Critical thinking

Now consider some of these potential longer term effects following a lengthier stay within critical care.

Can you recognise the impact that these may have on the patient and their family and wider social circle?

The potential longer term effects and the impact on patient and family and wider social circle: awareness that any and/or all of these effects may impact on the patient and family and wider circle significantly


  • Weight loss and muscle wasting
  • Reduced respiratory function
  • Complications intubation, tracheostomy – voice strength and weakness
  • Neurological issues – sedation, confusion


  • Hallucinations and nightmares/sleep disturbances (can continue for months, years)
  • Role change – from independence to dependence
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of concentration, mental fatigue, difficulties in reasoning and decision-making
  • Short term memory disturbances
  • Abrupt mood variations/depression


  • Relationships with family and friends
  • Loss of employment – earnings, role in family
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulties in relating to people


  • Nutritional changes: loss of appetite, altered sense of taste and sensation
  • Altered body image, confidence and sexual dysfunction