Felten-Barentz et al (2015), Feasibility and Safety of Hydrotherapy in Critically Ill Ventilated Patients

Introduction to Hydrotherapy in ICU Settings

Hydrotherapy, involving rehabilitation exercises in a swimming pool, offers potential benefits for critically ill ventilated patients due to reduced gravitational forces. This study evaluates the feasibility and safety of hydrotherapy in this patient group, addressing the challenges and potential risks associated with such an intervention.

Study Design and Implementation

The Radboudumc hospital’s ICU introduced a modified early mobilization program, incorporating hydrotherapy for patients unable to stand despite support. Eligible patients were those who could respond to verbal commands but were severely weak, with specific exclusion criteria to ensure safety. The hydrotherapy sessions were conducted in a dedicated pool, with a comprehensive mobility team overseeing the process.

Observations and Patient Response

Out of 3,686 ICU admissions, 25 patients underwent hydrotherapy, showing no reported complications related to the sessions. The hydrotherapy program included various exercises tailored to individual patient needs, with no sessions halted due to safety concerns. Patients and their families expressed high appreciation for the hydrotherapy sessions, indicating a positive reception to this novel therapy.

Safety Measures and Water Quality

Stringent safety protocols were followed, including the use of portable ventilators and continuous monitoring of vital signs. Water quality was regularly assessed, adhering to Dutch law standards, ensuring a safe environment for the patients undergoing hydrotherapy.

Conclusions on Hydrotherapy’s Feasibility and Safety

The study concludes that hydrotherapy is a feasible and safe rehabilitation option for selected ventilated ICU patients. It highlights the importance of careful patient selection and adherence to safety protocols. Future research is needed to explore the clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness of hydrotherapy in critically ill patients.

Keywords: Hydrotherapy, critically ill, ventilated patients, ICU, rehabilitation, safety, feasibility.

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