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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: Fluids and medications

Fluids When patients are connected to a ventilator or breathing machine, they are unable to drink normally. Fluids are therefore given directly into the bloodstream via drips or lines.The nurses carefully monitor and record how much fluid the patient receives along with the patient's vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure,etc), daily blood tests and how much urine they pass to make sure that he or she is receiving the right amount of fluids. Medication Medication can...

External Video: George's experience of Intensive Care

In this video, George talks about his experiences of being a patient in Intensive Care following an operation.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

Article: Handover

The nurse will usually start the shift by hearing about the patient's progress since they came into Intensive Care and over the previous shift (handover). She or he will usually carry out a full assessment of the patient by checking their charts (including things like vital signs, blood results and medications), checking that all equipment is working as it should and carrying out a full body assessment (eg checking the patient's skin, including any wounds and dressings and...

Web Link: Healthtalkonline

This is a free online resource for members of the general public and has sections on a range of illnesses and conditions. There is a section on Intensive Care; one on patients’ experiences and another on relatives’ experiences. There are video clips, voice recordings and interviews which have been typed out word for word, which many patients and familiy members find really useful.

Web Link: Healthtalkonline - families' experiences of Intensive Care

This link will take you to the Healthtalkonline website. You can hear about other family members' and close friends' experiences of having a loved one in Intensive Care. There are short videos, voice recordings and written interviews, which we hope you find useful.

Web Link: Healthtalkonline:patients' experiences of Intensive Care

Many people find it helpful to hear that other people's experiences are similar to their own. This link will take you to the Healthtalkonlone website and to the section on patients' experiences of Intensive Care. Here, you can watch short videos, listen to voice files and read their interviews.

Web Link: Healthunlocked.com

Many people find it helpful to hear that other people's experiences are similar to their own or to share their experiences online.This link will take you to the Intensive Care web page of Healthunlocked.They have a blog page in which patients and family members can ask questions and share experiences of Intensive Care and the recovery process.

Article: Heart monitor (ECG)

What does the heart monitor or ECG do? Heart or ECG (electrocardiography) monitors show the electrical activity of the heart. It is monitored using electrodes or “sticky dots” on the chest. Heart or ECG monitoring tells us about the heart rate and heart rhythm (both of which can sometimes be abnormal and require treatment). What is a "12 lead ECG"? In some cases (e.g. if a patient has an irregular heart rhythm or we are worried that they may be...

Article: How can I find out more about what happened to me in Intensive Care?

How can I find out more about what happened in Intensive Care? It depends on the type and level of information you’re looking for. Some people would rather put their illness behind them, others are comfortable with a basic understanding, and some prefer to have a detailed medical explanation. It’s completely up to you. You may find that the type of information you would like changes over time. Here are some things you can do that might help. Ask your family and...

Article: How can I make sense of the strange dreams and nightmares I had?

The dreams that patients have (no matter how “crazy”) can seem so real, can be remembered in such detail or can be recurring, that some patients feel compelled to try to make sense of them. “You’re thinking, there’s no way that I’ve been on a sailing boat, on a whaler or stuck down a drain. So then you start thinking, “Well, okay then. That’s fine!” …but for all that you discount it, you still get it coming back into your...