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Hospital wards

Being transferred to the hospital ward can be a real mixed bag of emotions for patients and families. While ward transfer is a sign of improvement and a step closer to going home, patients and families have to adjust to less monitoring and having fewer staff at close hand. 

Some patients "come to" on the wards, and have to begin to try to make sense of what has happened to them. Common psychological issues include strange dreams, problems sleeping or feeling anxious or low. Patients also become more aware of physical issues such as general weakness, tiredness, mobility problems, etc as they begin to do more for themselves.

In this section, we've provided some general information and advice on common physical and psychological issues issues during the ward stage of recovery, the types of staff involved in your care (who they are and what they do) and what to expect in terms of getting you home. We've also included sections on other people's experiences and frequently asked questions. We hope you find it helpful.


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External Video: Strange Dreams and memories in ICU

This is a short video in which Professor Tim Walsh (a Consultant in Intensive Care) explains the reasons why many patients have strange dreams during and after their time in Intensive Care.

Web Link: Support and benefits for carers

This link will take you to the NHS page on support for carers. You'll find trustworthy information on carers' rights, carers' assessments, benefits for carers, breaks and respite care, and support for young carers.

Web Link: Support services for carers

This link will take you to the website of Carers' Trust (Scotland). They offer online information and advice on a whole range of issues, including respite care and looking after yourself. They have a "help directory" of local support and a lively forum and chat room where you can talk online to other carers.

Web Link: Tests & treatments: find out more

This link will take you to the webpage of NHS Inform.Here, you'll find easily understandable information on common tests (eg blood tests, various types of scans, etc ), medical treatments and surgical procedures (everything from a knee replacement to heart surgery).

Document: Tiredness (fatigue)-how to save your energy

This booklet outlines techniques that you can use to make the most of the energy you have without making yourself exhausted. These techniques can be used to manage different physical symptoms including breathlessness, fatigue and pain.

Web Link: Travelling to the Royal Infirmary

This is the link to Lothian Buses' journey planner. There are good services to the Royal Infirmary from Edinburgh and the Lothians, many of which arrive and depart from the hospital grounds.

Article: Visiting on the wards

You may well find that the visiting hours on the wards are very different, as are the rules about how many visitors a patient can have at any one time, or if children are allowed to visit. Ask the staff if you're not sure. Please don't visit if you're feeling in any way unwell Your family member may be at increased risk of picking up any bugs you may have as they are still recovering from a serious illness. No matter how much you want to see them, and them you,...

Article: Visiting the Intensive Care Unit

Would you like to visit the Intensive Care Unit? Some people find it helpful to visit the Intensive Care Unit. It can sometimes help people to make sense of their time in Intensive Care, including understanding how ill they were, what happened while they were there, having the chance to speak with some of the staff who looked after them and in making sense of the strange dreams they had. Some people prefer not to, and it is completely up to you whether you would like to do...

Article: Weight loss

Patients can lose a lot of weight during their time in Intensive Care (sometimes up to 20% of their weight on admission) and often have issues with eating after transfer to the general wards. This can happen for many reasons; some are physical, some psychological and others are to do with hospital routine (eg being presented with food at very different times to when you would normally eat).Eating enough and well is an important part of your recovery.Your dietitian will do her/his best...