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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...

External Video: Acute kidney injury - Think Kidneys NHS UK - Video

Think Kidneys is the NHS’s campaign programme for tackling acute kidney injury. The aims are to reduce avoidable harm and death for people with acute kidney injury, and to improve care for patients whether in hospital or at home.

Web Link: After having ECMO

This weblink provides information on what to expect when recovering from an ECMO stay.

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: Being in Intensive Care _ Intensive Care Society

The Intensive Care Society website provides some useful information for patients and families on being in intensive care.

Document: Bereavement support at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital

This leaflet is about some of the emotions you may feel when someone close to you has died. It also has details of other organisations that offer support.

Web Link: Blog from an ICU survivor (Louise)

This link will take you to Louise's blog site, which she regularly updates. Louise was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth in November, 2018. She spent 13 days in the Intensive Care Unit, due to a perforated oesophagus (gullet) and another 71 days in hospital before being discharged home to her family. Louise writes in a very authentic and compassionate way about her experiences of having ICU delirium (strange or distressing dreams or hallucinations)...

Article: Bowels management in ICU

Bowel management system (BMS) is a tube that is inserted into the rectum from the bottom. It is used in patients in ICU who have problems with diarrhoea. The diarrhoea is collected in a drainage bag. This often used when the skin on the bottom gets very sore and red from frequently having diarrhoea. Using the BMS will help the skin to heal. Laxatives are a type of medicine that is used in ICU to patient constipation (not pooing regularly). Constipation is commonly seen in ICU patients...

Web Link: Calling or visiting a patient at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital - weblink

This weblink takes you to the main web page for information on visiting Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital. We have 5 main hospital sites, as well as community sites across south east London. Do check which location you need to come to before planning your visit. The Visiting us drop down menu allows you to choose which hospital and ward your are visiting and provides all the information you might need to help you on your journey (see web link...