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Intensive care (ICU) survivors have poor quality of life (QoL) and physical outcomes compared
to people of the same age and sex . Although rehabilitation of patients in ICU is now advocated as routine clinical practice
 there are few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) examining patient outcomes. The primary aim of this single
blind randomised controlled trial is to investigate the efficacy of a comprehensive rehabilitation intervention begun in ICU
compared to standard care on health related quality of life (HRQoL) and physical function.
Participants who have been in one tertiary ICU for 5 days, aged 18 years, who can understand written and
spoken English, will be randomly allocated to receive either standard care or a comprehensive physiotherapy rehabilitation
program beginning in ICU and continuing upon discharge to the ward and as an out patient (OP). Blinded assessment
of the primary outcome measures physical function, health status and HRQoL will be performed at baseline, 3, 6 and 12
months after discharge. Physical function measures will be obtained at ICU and hospital discharge and for the intervention
group, pre and post OP classes. The intervention will include individualised exercises prescribed by physiotherapists in
ICU and on the ward and given by an exercise physiologist and physiotherapist in OP.
We aim to enrol 200 participants over two years. The study will determine whether comprehensive physiotherapy
rehabilitation from ICU to discharge and OP attendance will improve physical functioning, health status and quality of life
in critical care survivors. The cost utility (CUA) and cost effectiveness of such a program will also be evaluated using utility
scores and a purpose designed economics questionnaire. Secondary outcomes related to proxy and subject HRQoL
comparisons, mechanical ventilation, critical illness neuromyopathy, ICU readmission and discharge destination will also
The outcomes measured are of significance to critical care patients. The CUA of the intervention will be of
interest to health service providers. The results will enable development of clinical practice guidelines for the appropriate
exercises in survivors of ICU.
Registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Network [ACTRN 12605000776606].