The 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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Article: Social worker

What does a social worker do? Awaiting content from a ward based social worker Housing Employment and education Finances and benefits Mental health and advocacy Addictions Family and childcare Why might I need to see a social worker after Intensive Care?Recovery after Intensive Care can take quite some time, which can result in a number of changes to things like living and family arrangements, any benefits you might either be receiving...

Article: Speech and Language Therapist

What does a Speech and Language Therapist do? Speech and Language Therapists are trained in assessing and treating swallowing and communication problems. Why might I need to see a Speech and Language Therapist during or after Intensive Care? It is not uncommon for patients who have spent time on a ventilator or breathing machine to develop short term problems with swallowing or with their voice. Temporary changes to the sound and strength of the voice can occur, with it...

Article: Strange dreams

Is it common to have strange dreams after going to the ward? Yes, it is very common to continue to have strange dreams after being transferred to the wards. In fact, some patients only "come to" on the wards and often don't remember very much about their time in Intensive Care (or how they ended up there) and have very strange dreams or memories.

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.

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,...