Prevention and management of the post-intensive care syndrome [KCE]

The post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) is not specific to COVID-19. In the months after discharge, it can occur in more than half of the patients that have stayed in intensive care for a serious pathology. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is very likely that its incidence will increase in the coming months.

PICS can cause three types of symptoms: physical (extreme muscle weakness), psychological (anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder), and cognitive (memory loss, loss of verbal fluency, attention and executive functioning disorders). Psychological symptoms can also be observed in the relatives of the patients (PICS-F for ‘Family’).

Since PICS is not well known outside the limited circle of intensivists, KCE conducted a rapid review of the literature for primary caretakers to identify the main risk factors and the evidence for possible interventions. They have also identified a series of 6 practical tools. These will enable general practitioners to detect this syndrome, which they will no doubt soon observe, in a quick and reliable way.

More information can be found via

The full report is available via


HELICON is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

BRAIN-be logoBELSPO logo

Information sheet for participants: EN • NL • FR

Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Health Information