CIRC Leaders Learn About InS:PIRE, a Program to Help Survivors of Critical Illness

Brad Butcher, MD, and Tammy Eaton, MSN, RN, the founders of the newly established Critical Illness Recovery Center (CIRC) at UPMC Mercy, participated in the annual InS:PIRE conference hosted by the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland in late November 2018. InS:PIRE is a program built upon peer support to help survivors of critical illness recover from post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) and foster their future independence. The aim is for prolonged-stay ICU patients to achieve a level of recovery that facilitates their return to work and activities of daily living.

“In Glasgow, we developed a greater appreciation for the importance of peer support during a patient’s recovery process,” explained Dr. Butcher, who is CIRC medical director and co-director of the Medical Surgical ICU at UPMC Mercy. “The need to help patients set goals to enhance their recovery and the importance of social supports—so often neglected by physicians—are crucial in the process of long-term recovery.”

The five-week InS:PIRE program uses a novel cohort strategy that connects multiple survivors of critical illness as a group, allowing for peer support to be seamlessly integrated into physician, pharmacist, and physical therapist assessments.

“We were honored to join the InS:PIRE team members from the six sites across Scotland at their annual conference,” said Tammy Eaton, lead clinician and co-founder of CIRC. “And we returned to Pittsburgh with a goal to develop a mentor-based support structure for our own survivors of critical illness.”

Many survivors of critical illness develop a combination of physical, mental, and emotional challenges—known as post-intensive care syndrome—that can stand in the way of a successful recovery. The CIRC at UPMC Mercy assists these people with their long-term recovery following a prolonged stay in the ICU. At the CIRC, patients have access to a multidisciplinary team, including respiratory, physical, occupational and cognitive therapists, a pharmacist, nutritionist, nurse and an intensivist, who focus on a patient’s physical, emotional, and mental health concerns.

The Critical Illness Recovery Center is located at the Mercy Health Center, Suite 236, at 1515 Locust Street in Pittsburgh, PA. Appointments at CIRC can be made by calling 412-232-5992.