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Intensive Care

Critical care, also known as intensive care, is needed if someone is seriously ill with life-threatening conditions and requires intensive treatment and close monitoring. This is carried out in a ward called the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). These wards within the hospital are staffed with a multi-disciplinary healthcare team equipped and designed to closely monitor and treat patients with life-threatening conditions. Patients may need specialist treatment because one or more of their body systems, such as their heart, lung, or kidneys, are not working properly.

Because our patients are often very unwell, they will have much greater care needs than those patients being cared for on more general wards within the hospital. For this reason, each nurse will care for one patient only at a time and patients will be reviewed by different teams regularly.


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Article: “I had these strange dreams.”

What kinds of memories or dreams do people have? It is very common for patients to have strange memories, dreams or hallucinations. They can seem very real...so real, that no matter how strange they are, patients are often unsure whether they happened or not. They can often be remembered in detail for some time afterwards. The dreams that people have can sometimes be very frightening, but sometimes pleasant or funny. Here are some examples of other people's dreams.We hope they...

Article: Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCPs)

Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCPs) are clinical professionals responsible for patients' care during their ICU admission. They are highly experienced and educated practitioners who have developed their skills and theoretical knowledge to a very high standard.

Web Link: A-Z of health conditions

Many people who come into Intensive Care have pre-existing health conditions. Part of your recovery will likely include understanding and dealing with those conditions too. This link will take you to an NHS page with information on 100's of conditions, symptoms and treatments. It's not exhaustive, but we hope you find it helpful.

Web Link: Childcare: help with costs

This link will take you to the Government's webpage on childcare and parenting. It offers useful advice on whether and how you can get help with finding childcare if you need to spend time at the hospital.

External Video: Deliriums 'were reality for me' - Lou's story

When Lou Gallie went to hospital for a planned procedure, she was not worried - she had been through this before. But in October 2018 she ended up in intensive care after a complication. During her 78-day stay in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, she experienced delirium - an acute confusional state. Ms Gallie said the visions she experienced felt real and were ingrained in her mind like memories which left her with trauma she is still recovering from. The 40-year-old recalls walking...

Web Link: Emotional experiences in ICU- Healthtalk.org

This link takes you to the healthtalk.org website, where patients share their emotional experiences from being in ICU

Web Link: Georgia's experience of using a virtual visiting app whilst recovering from covid-19

In this article Georgia, talks about a virtual visiting app saved her life while she was recovering in hospital after she spent almost a month in a coma after contracting COVID-19 Georgia said: “It was like living a nightmare. I was scared when I woke up from the coma and all I wanted was my family to be by my bedside. Life Lines gave me some peace because it was the only line of communication I had with my husband and sister.”

External Article: 'I woke up in ICU and didn't know what was real' Oliver's story

Animation graduate Oliver Pratt was just 20 when he fell severely ill with complications following Covid-19. This is his story.

Web Link: ICU Diaries - family experiences of keeping a diary

This link will take you to the Healthtalkonline website and their page on the use of diaries in Intensive Care. Here, you can watch short videos and listen to voice files on other people's experiences of keeping a diary for their loved one.

Article: ICU dietitian

ICU Dietitians are responsible for making sure that patients gets the right food and enough food (nutrition). This often involves having liquid food given through a feeding tube which is put in through the nose (nostril) down into the stomach (called a nasogastric tube or NG tube) or sometimes nutrition (food) can be given as a drip straight into the bloodstream through tube inserted into the vein (central line). If a patient can eat, they may be given high energy and protein food or drinks...