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Things to Expect

One of the most difficult things about your relative or friend coming to critical care is not knowing what is going to happen.

This brief description will hopefully answer some of your questions. If you have questions that are not answered here, please talk to the nurse looking after your relative or friend.

Why has my relative or friend been admitted to the Critical Care Unit?

Your relative or friend has been admitted to the critical care unit because their body is not working properly and they need supporting whilst they are being treated. People come to critical care for many different illnesses, if they do not get the special support that critical care provides, they could have serious, long term effects, or they could die.

Why can't I see them straight away?

When a patient is admitted to critical care it is a very busy period, lots of things need to happen quickly and you may not be able to see your relative or friend straight away. It is also normal for you to feel a little helpless and to want to know what is happening. However, the patient needs time to settle from the shock of being so unwell and the staff need time to stabilise them. Sometimes patients are kept asleep with strong pain killers and sedatives to allow the body to begin healing. Patients can also be connected to an array of equipment to support them during their time on intensive care. An explanation of what equipment does to help your relative or friend can be found here.

Who is looking after them?

Your relative or friend will be cared for by staff trained to work in critical care. You will see many different staff caring for them across their stay. A list of who staff are and what they do to help can be found here.

What happens if they need to be moved to another hospital?

Sometimes we may move patients from one critical care unit to one in another hospital. This is because some critical care units offer specialist services that are not available in all hospitals. Sometimes patients can also be moved because a lack of critical care beds for more seriously unwell patients. This can be very upsetting as you may have to travel further to see your relative or friend. However, we only move patients when absolutely necessary. When we do have to move patients, they are moved with highly trained staff using ambulances to keep your relative or friend safe.

Who can I speak to if I have more questions?

If you have questions about what is happening to your friend or relative please ask the doctor or nurse looking after them. They will be happy to explain what is going on and answer questions. However, they will not want to give you false hope, they will be happy to update you as time goes on.

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