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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: Physiotherapy in Intensive Care

What do physiotherapists do in Intensive Care? Physiotherapy has a very important role in the care and treatment of patients in Intensive Care. There are two main things that the physiotherapist can help with; breathing and exercises. Help with breathing Many patients in Intensive Care need help with their breathing, even if they're not connected to a ventilator or breathing machine. Patients who are not connected to a ventilator or breathing machine may struggle to...

Web Link: Power of Attorney: all you need to know

Are you considering setting up a power of attorney and would like to know how to go about it or would you like to refresh your memory about what the role entails? This link will take you to the mygov.scot website which has all you need to know.

Article: Putting lines in

What are "lines"? There are different kinds of "lines" with different uses. Some are used to give patients fluids and medications, most commonly in the small veins in the hand or arms (sometimes called a cannula).Some medication needs to be given via a large vein (where the richer blood supply dilutes it) in the neck or groin (sometimes called a central line). These types of lines are also used to give liquid nutrition (TPN or Total Parenteral Nutrition). Other...

Article: Sedation (drugs to keep patients comfortable)

What is sedation? Sedatives are the drugs we give patients to keep them sleepy and comfortable whilst in Intensive Care.They are usually given into a line or drip, directly into the patient's bloodstream. Why are sedatives used in Intensive Care? When a patient is very ill, the body may struggle to cope with the severity of their illness or with some of the things we have to do in order to treat their illness. Being connected to a ventilator or breathing machine via a...

Web Link: Sepsis Trust

Sepsis is a very severe form of infection.This link will take you to the UK Sepsis Trust. The website provides patients and families with easily understandable information on what sepsis is, the different types, the symptoms, treatements and potential long-term effects.There are personal stories from patients who have survived sepsis and from their family members. They offer an "In Touch" service, which is access to one-to-one support via email or telephone. There is also a...

Web Link: Sepsis Trust: patient and family information

Sepsis is a very severe form of infection.This link will take you to the UK Sepsis Trust's booklet for patients and family members. It provides easily understandable information on what sepsis is, the different types, the symptoms, treatments and long-term effects.

Web Link: Sepsis-other people's stories

This link will take you to the UK Sepsis Trust's website, where you can read about other people's experiences of having and recovering from sepsis. 

Article: Spiritual care

Members of the Spiritual Care Team are normally available during normal office hours and can be contacted for urgent and out of hours support through an on-call system. They offer confidential, non-judgemental support to patients and families, whatever their beliefs or life situations. If you wouild like to be visited by someone from your own faith or belief group, please let the staff know.      

External Video: Spiritual support in Intensive Care

In this video,Iain Telfer draws on his many years' experience as a Chaplain in Intensive Care. He talks about the benefits of having someone to share your innermost worries about, regardless of faith or religion. He also talks about his role, when needed, as a "go between" with the doctors and nurses and with individuals from other faiths or religions. Chaplaincy can continue to offer spriritual support once the patient has been transferrd to the general ward.

External Video: Spiritual support: when someone dies

In this video, Iain Telfer draws upon his many years' experience as a Chaplain in Intensive Care. He talks about the range of emotions people can go through when a loved one is dying or has died in Intensive Care and the type of support that can be offered, regardless of faith or religion.