Skip navigation

An exploration of patient perspectives and experiences of a 6-week outpatient rehabilitation programme following critical illness: A qualitative study

Hannah Brown

  • Abstract
  • Full text
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Figures & Tables

With improvements in medical health care, the likelihood of surviving critical illness is increasing. However, surviving critical illness can have long-term detrimental effects on physical and functional ability, alongside psychological implications. To address these long-term effects, outpatient rehabilitation programmes following discharge from critical care have been developed. There is therefore a need to explore the perspectives and experiences of those individuals that have participated in these programmes. The findings can support in continuing to develop such programmes.


To gain insight into patients’ perspectives and experiences of attending a 6-week outpatient rehabilitation programme following critical illness and to explore patients’ thoughts regarding its impact upon function and quality of life.


Ten of the potential 15 participants who completed the critical care rehabilitation programme in 2018 met the inclusion criteria. A total of five participants were available and consented to attend a focus group in February 2019.


Using thematic analysis, 3 main themes were identified: (1) barriers to exercise post critical illness; (2) benefits of the programme; (3) timings of the programme. Sub-themes were also identified within these.


Participants had an overall positive experience of the critical care rehabilitation programme and felt that this service is beneficial and needed for all of those who survive critical illness. Further exploration as to the timing of commencement following hospital discharge and the frequency and durations of the programmes is recommended.

2021 Journal (Vol. 53 Issue 2)
Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care. Volume 53. Issue 2. 2021 Article on: p58-69
Download Full Issue
Submit an Article