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Resource type: 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 this or not. Some people prefer to do this only when they are feeling better (sometimes weeks and months after discharge home) as the experience is still too raw.

If you would like to visit the Intensive Care Unit, please contact us so that we can arrange this for you.  In order to make your visit as useful as possible, here are a few things you might like to think about….

• Please tell us if you or your family can remember the names of some of the staff who looked after you so that we can try to arrange your visit when they are on duty. They will be able to give you much more detail about your time in Intensive Care.
• You might like to make a list of some of the questions you would like to ask the staff
• Please let us know if you are bringing a family member or friend with you. Visiting the Intensive Care Unit can be very emotional for some people and it might help to have someone close to talk to afterwards

Some people worry or are embarrassed about returning to the Intensive Care Unit as they may have been confused or acted out of character while they were ill. Please be assured that this is extremely common and is often due to the drugs that you were given (particularly the ones given to help keep you sleepy and comfortable) and the strange or frightening dreams that you may have had. The staff will completely understand. Please don’t let these worries put you off visiting the Intensive Care Unit if you think you might find it helpful.