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Physical Function after ICU Study

Principal Investigator: 

Dr Brenda O’Neill, Ulster University, (UU)

Project team:

Dr Fidelma Moran (UU), Professor Judy Bradley (QUB), Dr Bronagh Blackwood (QUB), Professor Danny McAuley (QUB), Alanna Rogan (UU), Natasha Green (QUB), Professor Ian Bradbury (UU).

Name of the Study:

Physical Function and Activity, as well as correlates, in Survivors of Critical Illness Following Discharge from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU): A Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study.

Why is this Study important?: 

When patients have been in the Intensive Care Unit, it can be hard to return to good health. There are very few services to help these patients or their families.

Little is known about the pattern of physical and functional recovery of survivors of critical illness. Overall Health-related Quality of Life (HRQoL) may be markedly reduced, even up to five years following discharge after critical illness.

It is important that clinicians and researchers are able to find out which people might benefit from a rehabilitation intervention which could help their recovery.  A study that explores the recovery pathway in the year after discharge from hospital, and includes measures of physical function and activity is needed.

What is the Research question/aim?: 

The aim of this study is to discover what activities patients can do and what activities they cannot do, when they go home after they have been in intensive care. We hope to use the results to find out about how to help people after critical illness, and also when to give help after leaving hospital.

What the Study involves: 

Participants will be invited to attend four appointments where we will measure what they are able to do. For example, the participant will be asked to answer questions about their general health and well-being. Also the participant will be asked to do a short walking test to see how far that they can walk. The majority of these tests will be carried out during the year after they go home from hospital.  The Investigator will be able to see if patients are back to good health and activity or not, and how easy or hard it was for them to do this research.

PPI Involvement: 

People who have had a stay in the intensive care have said they would like us to do this type of study as it may help to improve services in the future. They have helped us to prepare some of the study information that we use, and they will look at the study results later and help us decide what the next steps are.

Who can take part in the Study?:

People who have had a stay in an intensive care unit.

Contact Information:

Dr Brenda O’Neill

Room 1F119

CHaRT, Institute of Nursing and Health Research

School of Health Sciences

Shore Road


County Antrim

BT37 0QB




Tel: 00 44 (0)28 9036 8812






NI Clinical Research Facility,
U Floor, Belfast City Hospital,
Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7AB

Tel:+44 (0)28 9504 0342

Connect to the NICRF