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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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Article: Kidney machine or "filter"

What is a kidney machine or filter? A kidney machine or filter is a form of kidney or renal support.It is also known as Continuous Veno Venous Haemofiltration (CVVH). We prefer to use this form of support in Intensive Care as it is gentler on the heart and circulation than other forms of kidney or renal support eg dialysis. What is a kidney machine or filter used for? The filter or kidney machine is a machine that can temporarily take over the work of the kidneys when they are...

Web Link: Letter from an ICU nurse

This link will take you to an online article that was recently posted by an American Intensive Care nurse. In it, she writes an open letter to family members, explaining why we might sometimes appear distant, and why you might sometimes hear us laugh or crack a joke at what seems like the most inappropriate of times. We are sorry if this feels disrespectful to you at such a difficult time. We hope that this letter gives some insight into what's going on behind the scenes.

Article: Looking after yourself

Having a loved one in Intensive Care can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It can be all too easy to forget to take care of yourself. Try to remember, though, that you will need all your strength to help look after your loved one when he/she gets out of hospital. Try to keep to as normal a routine as you can It's completely understandable to feel that you want to "be there", to stay as close to your loved one as possible, either at their bedside, in the...

External Video: Louise describes her critical illness and the process of getting better

In this video clip, Louise a former Intensive Care patient talks about her experiences of critical illness five years on and the process of getting better and getting on with her life. You can read interviews,listen to voice recordings and watch clips of other patients' experiences of Intensive Care by using the link to a free website called Healthtalkonline: http://healthtalkonline.org/search/all/intensive%20care

Web Link: Making a complaint: Patient Advice and Support Service

This link will take you to the webpage of the Patient Advice and Support Service. They offer free,confidential & independent advice & support for NHS patients in Scotland, and are linked with the Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find out more about your rights and responsibilities, and provide practical and emotional support.You can call them free on 0800 917 2127 or chat to someone either online or in person at your nearest Citizens Advice Support. They can  Help you to give feedback...

Web Link: Managing someone else's affairs (Citizens Advice)

When someone is ill in Intensive Care, they may need someone to help with or take over their affairs, including making decisions around their health, legal and financial welfare.This link will take you to the Citizens Advice website. It provides simple, easily understandable information about different ways of managing someone else's affairs, including different types of Power of Attorney. 

Web Link: Medical records: how to access them

Some people want to see their medical notes, so that they can make sense of their care or treatment, and why they needed it.This link will take you to the NHS Choices website. It gives you information on how to get permission to look at your medical notes (including the forms you will need to fill in and whether you might have to pay a small fee).

Web Link: Medicines explained

This link will take you to an NHS page explaining how 100s of different medications work, what they're for, how to take them and possible side-effects. It's not exhaustive, but we hope you find it helpful. 

Article: Money issues

What if I can't pay the bills? It can be stressful enough, worrying about a family member in Intensive Care, without the added stress of worrying about money and how you're going to pay the bills. This is especially true if your loved usually dealt with money issues, if either of you are self employed or you need to take a lot of time off work in order to visit him or her or to look after children. Can I get access to his or her bank account? You may need access to...

Article: Money worries-help from Edinburgh & Lothian Health Foundation

When you have a loved one in Intensive Care, the last thing you want to be worrying about is money. However, visiting someone in Intensive Care can be really expensive, particularly if your loved one is in Intensive Care or in hospital for some time. Bus fares, parking and eating in the hospital can all add up over time. Did you know that you can apply for up to £200 to help you with these expenses? You can claim for help with accomodation, bus fares, parking and food and drink...