The role of physiotherapy in Enhanced Recovery after Surgery in the intensive care unit

Thomas W. Wainwright, David A. McDonald, Louise C. Burgess

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Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is an evidence-based, multimodal approach to optimising patient outcomes following surgery. The role of physiotherapy within ERAS and intensive care units (ICU) is important. Patients admitted to an ICU following elective major surgery may suffer from physical, psychological and cognitive problems, which can impact their return to function and quality of life. ICU physiotherapists can enable patients to achieve ERAS programme aims throughout their stay in an ICU and this may accelerate the achievement of discharge criteria and subsequent return to function. Functional limitations and persistent weakness may exist long after discharge, and therefore there is a need to increase the awareness and involvement of physiotherapists within the outpatient setting. Establishing a standardised rehabilitation programme, informed by key ERAS principles and delivered by specialist physiotherapists supported by a well-informed ICU team can have long term benefits to patients post-discharge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-147
Number of pages2
JournalICU Management & Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2017


  • physiotherapy
  • Enhanced Recovery after Surgery
  • ERAS
  • intensive care units
  • ICU


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