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Intensive Care

Not remembering what happened to you is very common

Patients' memories of Intensive Care can often be hazy or “jumbled”. It can be difficult to piece together what happened before being admitted to Intensive Care, and what happened while you were there. Some people remember only the end of their time in Intensive Care, while others remember almost nothing.

Some people are happy not to remember very much, but for others, "not knowing" can be upsetting. Some people are only ready to find out more in the weeks, months and sometimes years after getting home. Others just want to put it behind them. It's completely up to you whether or not you'd like to find out more about what happened in Intensive Care.

Having strange dreams or nightmares is very common

It's really common to have strange and sometimes frightening dreams or hallucinations (sometimes called "delirium"). They can seem so real that it can be difficult to work out whether they actually happened or not. Making sense of your time in Intensive Care can therefore be difficult. In this section, we've provided examples of other people's experiences, including easy to use links to other websites, where you can watch short video clips or listen to voice recordings from other patients.

Would you like to find out more about what happens in Intensive Care?

Some people find it helpful to "fill in the blanks". Others prefer to put it all behind them. There's no wrong or right, and it's completely up to you whether, when and how you want to find out more. In this section, we’ve provided some general information on common equipment and treatments, including how and why they’re used. We’ve also provided some information on routine care, the types of staff involved in your care and the sorts of things they will have done to help you.

 

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Web Link: If someone dies: bereavement support for children

We're very sorry for your loss. This link will take you to the website of childbereavement uk. They are a UK-wide organisation who can help support families with children and young adults, when there is a death in the family. They provide a free confidential Helpline, staffed by trained professionals, face-to-face support (in some areas), and helpful leaflets that you can download or print off. Please see their website to find out more.

Web Link: If someone dies: registering a death in Scotland

Sadly,not everyone survives Intensive Care. We are very sorry for your loss. This link takes you to the website of the General Register Office for Scotland.It provides information on how to register a death in Scotland.

Article: Infection control

Why is infection control so important in Intensive Care? Patients who are in Intensive Care are more at risk of getting infections. This is mainly due to patients being so unwell, and because some of the equipment we use can increase the risk of infection.The breathing (or endotracheal) tube, for example, provides essential support, but can increase the risk of lung infection. The lines and drips we use to monitor the patient or give fluids and medications can also increase the...

Web Link: Information leaflets on various conditions

Many people who come into Intensive Care have pre-existing health conditions. Part of your recovery will likely include understanding and dealing with those conditions too.This link will take you to the British Medical Journal's website.There are links to patient information leaflets on a range of conditions. They have been written in clear, easily understandable language.

Article: Infusion pumps

Infusion pumps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they all do the same thing; they allow us to accurately control the amount of fluids, medication or liquid food we give to the patient. The nurse will normally check each infusion pump every hour to make sure that the correct amount of fluids, medication or liquid food has been given. Pumps have in-built alarms, which let us know if there is a problem e.g. if there is a kink in the tubing or if an infusion is coming to an end.

External Video: Insight into ICU (a short video)

This links to a 20 minute webcast by staff and former patients from the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.It provides some interesting and useful insights into what happens in Intensive Care. Several patients share their experiences of their time there.While we are not currently able to offer some of the services provided in this webcast, we hope you find it useful.

Document: Intensive Care - A guide for patients and families

This is a booklet written by ICUSteps, which is a charity developed by former Intensive Care patients, family members and healthcare staff. It was written by patients and families for patients and families and is very easy to read.

Web Link: Intensive Care-what it is and does

This link will take you to the NHS Choices website, and their pages on Intensive Care.There is some easily understandable information on what Intensive Care is all about, and what to expect in terms of visiting, treatment and recovery.

Article: Keeping up to date

Who can I ask about my loved one's condition? The nurse who is looking after your family member will have a very clear understanding of your loved one's condition. She/he will be able to explain things to you in easily understandable language and will be happy to answer any questions you might have. We do understand that visiting a loved one in Intensive Care can be very upsetting and that it can sometimes be difficult to remember what you've been told.Please...