Intensive care: Patients' experiences

Messages to others

The people we talked to passed on messages of advice to others, based on their own experience. Everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for someone else. Here are their comments:

Messages about ICU

  • Trust the ICU staff - your loved one will receive the best care and treatment available. If you are going in for planned surgery, be positive and assured that you will receive the best care the staff can give you.
  • It might be a shock to see your loved one attached to so much equipment. Don't be afraid of the ICU equipment - it is all there to help.
  • Keep a diary for your loved one. When they are well enough to go home, they will want to know more about what happened.

Messages about recovery

  • Don't bottle up your emotions - talk about what happened and ask all the questions you need to.
  • Nightmares are normal after ICU and will pass.
  • Be positive and look forwards. There will be setbacks and a positive attitude will help you get through them.
  • Recovery will take longer than you expect - keep yourself as active as you can, doing a little bit more every day.
  • Although recovery can take a long time, it's easier if you set yourself goals every day and work towards them.
  • Be kind to yourself - be active but don't push yourself too hard.
  • Accept support.

Messages to relatives

  • Give support but allow your loved one to continue making his or her own decisions.
  • Don't be too over-protective.
  • Look after yourself because this can be a difficult time for relatives as well.
  • Accept support when you need it.
  • Help your loved one to keep positive, giving them love, support and encouragement.

Last reviewed May 2015.

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