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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: Infusion pumps

Infusion pumps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they all do the same thing; they allow us to accurately control the amount of fluids, medication or liquid food we give to the patient. The nurse will normally check each infusion pump every hour to make sure that the correct amount of fluids, medication or liquid food has been given. Pumps have in-built alarms, which let us know if there is a problem e.g. if there is a kink in the tubing or if an infusion is coming to an end.

External Video: Insight into ICU (a short video)

This links to a 20 minute webcast by staff and former patients from the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.It provides some interesting and useful insights into what happens in Intensive Care. Several patients share their experiences of their time there.While we are not currently able to offer some of the services provided in this webcast, we hope you find it useful.

Document: Intensive Care - A guide for patients and families

This is a booklet written by ICUSteps, which is a charity developed by former Intensive Care patients, family members and healthcare staff. It was written by patients and families for patients and families and is very easy to read.

Web Link: Intensive Care-what it is and does

This link will take you to the NHS Choices website, and their pages on Intensive Care.There is some easily understandable information on what Intensive Care is all about, and what to expect in terms of visiting, treatment and recovery.

Article: Keeping up to date

Who can I ask about my loved one's condition? The nurse who is looking after your family member will have a very clear understanding of your loved one's condition. She/he will be able to explain things to you in easily understandable language and will be happy to answer any questions you might have. We do understand that visiting a loved one in Intensive Care can be very upsetting and that it can sometimes be difficult to remember what you've been told.Please...

Article: Kidney machine or "filter"

What is a kidney machine or filter? A kidney machine or filter is a form of kidney or renal support.It is also known as Continuous Veno Venous Haemofiltration (CVVH). We prefer to use this form of support in Intensive Care as it is gentler on the heart and circulation than other forms of kidney or renal support eg dialysis. What is a kidney machine or filter used for? The filter or kidney machine is a machine that can temporarily take over the work of the kidneys when they are...

Article: Looking after yourself

Having a loved one in Intensive Care can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It can be all too easy to forget to take care of yourself. Try to remember, though, that you will need all your strength to help look after your loved one when he/she gets out of hospital. Try to keep to as normal a routine as you can It's completely understandable to feel that you want to "be there", to stay as close to your loved one as possible, either at their bedside, in the...

External Video: Louise describes her critical illness and the process of getting better

In this video clip, Louise a former Intensive Care patient talks about her experiences of critical illness five years on and the process of getting better and getting on with her life. 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

Web Link: Making a complaint: Patient Advice and Support Service

This link will take you to the webpage of the Patient Advice and Support Service. They offer free,confidential & independent advice & support for NHS patients in Scotland, and are linked with the Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find out more about your rights and responsibilities, and provide practical and emotional support.You can call them free on 0800 917 2127 or chat to someone either online or in person at your nearest Citizens Advice Support. They can  Help you to give feedback...

Web Link: Managing someone else's affairs (Citizens Advice)

When someone is ill in Intensive Care, they may need someone to help with or take over their affairs, including making decisions around their health, legal and financial welfare.This link will take you to the Citizens Advice website. It provides simple, easily understandable information about different ways of managing someone else's affairs, including different types of Power of Attorney.