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A tactic to cut ICU trauma: Get patients up

New York Times, January 14, 2009
Researchers that tracked patients for months or years after an ICU stay found that some, even young ones, can be weak for years. Some have difficulty thinking and concentrating or have post-traumatic stress disorder and terrible memories of nightmares they had while heavily sedated. While patients may be suffering lingering effects from illnesses that landed them in the ICU, researchers are increasingly convinced that spending days, weeks or months on life support in the units can elicit surprising, long-lasting effects. So now some ICUs are trying a solution: reducing sedation levels and getting patients up and walking even though they are gravely ill.