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Other people's stories

Trying to come to terms with spending time in Intensive Care can sometimes be a very difficult and lonely process, no matter how much other people may try to understand or help. It can often be difficult for patients to talk to others about that time. It might help to hear about other people's experiences of Intensive Care, and to know that you're not alone.

The main things that patients tell us about are not remembering what happened to them, the dreams that they had and how difficult it was to make sense of what was going on around them. In this section, we have provided some real life examples from other patients have told us. Everyone is different and while the experiences shared here may not always reflect your own, we hope you find them helpful.

You can find out more about other people’s experiences through using some of the easy to use links to other websites (where you can access voice files and video clips from other patients) or through joining our chat room.

 

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Article: "I don't remember much about Intensive Care"

It’s extremely common for patients to remember very little of their time in Intensive Care. Sometimes patients “lose” the few days prior to ending up in Intensive Care and may struggle to make sense of how they ended up there. “The last thing I remember was…the ambulance. I don’t remember anything else until I woke up weeks later.”  “It felt very strange…because I really wasn't sure whether I was ill, whether I'd had an accident…or been kidnapped or what, you know? I just couldn't...

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...

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) and...

External Video: Bob describes his intensive care experience

In this short video clip, Bob (a former patient) talks about his time in Intensive Care. 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: Delirium (confusion, strange dreams & memories) in ICU: a video

This link will take to you a video or webinar on delirium (felling confused or having strange dreams or memories) in ICU. The video is hosted by ICUsteps, the UK's ICU patient-led charity. You can find their website here:ICUsteps In it, the group discuss delirium, patients' experience of it, and simple things that can be done to help. They also discuss recovery from delirium after discharge home, how family members can help, and psychological support that is available. The video is...

External Video: George's experience of Intensive Care

In this video, George talks about his experiences of being a patient in Intensive Care following an operation.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: Hallucinations in the ICU:a short video from former patients

This is a link to a short video in which 2 former patients talk about their strange memories of the ICU.  Borrowed, with grateful thanks, from the INSPIRE (ICU) research team in NHS Glasgow & Greater Clyde.

Web Link: Healthtalkonline: Patients' experiences of Intensive Care

Many people find it helpful to hear that other people's experiences are similar to their own. This link will take you to the Healthtalkonlone website and to the section on patients' experiences of Intensive Care. Here, you can watch short videos, listen to voice files and read their interviews.

External Video: Louise and her recovery from Swine flu

In this video clip, Louise talks about her experiences of being critically ill with Swine flu. Five years on, she talks about the processes 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 Healthtalkonline.

Web Link: Miles & his recovery from Avian Flu

In this brief clip, shown on ITV News during the COVID outbreak, Miles talks about his experiences of recovering from avian flu. He talks about the physical and emotional impact of Intensive Care, the impact on his family, and his determination to recover his life. He also talks about his work with ICUsteps, a patient-led charity, and how important it is that patients and families are aware of the support that's out there, from other people who've been in Intensive Care.