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COVID survivors enrolled in unique rehabilitation programme

Friday, October 9, 2020

A specially designed rehabilitation initiative for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients is helping speed up the recovery and improve the health and wellbeing of COVID-19 survivors within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. 

InS:PIRE (Intensive Care Recovery: Supporting and Promoting Independence and Return to Employment) launched at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2014 in partnership with the University of Glasgow and provides patients with a tailored package of treatment to help them recover from extended stays in intensive care.

For the first time, COVID-19 survivors are taking part in the five week treatment plan which will help combat some of the physical and psychological impacts of ICU treatment such as reduced mobility, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem – all of which slow down recovery progress.

The programme consists of a mixture of individual and group clinics taking place over Zoom and Near Me and providing survivors with peer support groups to share their experiences and learn from others, with specialist teams guiding the sessions and delivering self-care advice and education. 

The group sessions are supplemented by weekly individual clinician and nurse led consultations which have input from pharmacists, physiotherapists and psychologists.

The InS:PIRE programme will play a particularly important role in the rehabilitation of some of the worst affected COVID-19 survivors – some of whom have spent upwards of two weeks in intensive care.

Dr Lisa Gemmell, ICU Consultant at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital, said: “While ICU provides life-saving treatments for patients, it can take a significant emotional and physical toll on people. We know that COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU can be here for a sustained period of time, which means the recovery process is likely going to be a lengthy and difficult journey for many.

“The InS:PIRE programme provides a well-established and crucial means of support for these patients once they have been discharged from hospital. We know from experience that having a peer support group in place can really help accelerate recovery and remind ICU patients they are not on their own. This, coupled with the multi-service approach over the five week period means patients receive a package of care made up from different disciplines working in tandem to ensure as speedy a recovery as possible. 

Tam McCue is one of the first cohort of COVID-19 survivors to be enrolled on the programme. Tam, 64, spent two weeks in ICU earlier this year as a result of the virus, and though he survived, he has been in recovery ever since and recognises that a long journey lies ahead. Tam said:

“I lived an active lifestyle before the virus, and then when I caught it, I spent a long time in ICU, completely immobile, which took its toll. Now, though I’ve been discharged, even three months later, doing the basics can still take it out of me and I recognise it’ll be a long time before I’m anywhere near back to where I was before.

“InS:PIRE has given me a strong grounding to get to where I want to be, and the team has been excellent in providing advice and support and even though they have to be delivered online, the clinics have been really helpful and I’m sure will help many other patients like myself in the future.”


For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

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Last Updated: 09 October 2020