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Families' page

Having a loved one in Intensive Care can be an incredibly stressful and upsetting time for families and friends, particularly during the coronavirus outbreak.It can be difficult to think straight when you feel like your whole life has been turned upside down, often without warning. If you live with, or have been in close contact with the person in Intensive Care with COVID-19, you will need to follow current guidance on self isolation and social distancing. In this section, we've provided links to the guidance, some general information and advice on how to make sure you and your family are kept up to date, and practical issues such as work, money and legal issues.

Sadly, some patients don't survive their illness. We have also provided what we hope is some useful information and advice on some of the things you need to do if you lose a loved one.We have also provided to some links to organisations who can provide you with emotional support. We are very sorry for your loss.




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Web Link: Diaries: other people's experiences

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.

Web Link: End of life decisions

Sadly, some patients don't survive Intensive Care.In some cases, incredibly difficult decisions have to be made about whether it's in the patient's best interests to continue treatment, when it seems certain that their condition won't improve.We're so sorry, if this is the case for you.It might help to hear about other people's experiences about making these types of decisions, both within the family and with the medical staff on Intensive Care. This link will...

Web Link: Healthtalkonline - families' experiences of Intensive Care

This link will take you to the Healthtalk.org website. You can hear about other family members' and close friends' experiences of having a loved one in Intensive Care. There are short videos, voice recordings and written interviews, which we hope you find useful.

Web Link: ICU unwrapped: a website explaining what happens in ICU

This link will take you to the ICU Unwrapped website, developed by the Intensive Care team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The website aims to provide short, simple, non-technical explanations of what happens in Intensive Care. The website offers information and frequently asked questions on a huge range of ICU-related issues.

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.

External Article: Intensive Care - What it is and Does

This link will take you to NHS Inform's section on Intensive Care.It provides a general summary of what Intensive Care Units are, what we do, easy to understand explanations of the equipment, and common issues after Intensive Care.

Article: Keeping up to date

Who can I ask about my loved one's condition? COVID-19 has meant that hospitals have restricted visiting to protect patients, their family, friends and staff. This means that the way you can communicate with Intensive Care Unit staff has changed. You can no longer communicate face-to-face with the nurses and doctors caring for your loved one, and you can’t visit the Unit. ICUs around the country have set up different systems to communicate with families, depending on how busy...

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 might help to try to stick as closely to your normal routine as you can (getting up or eating at your normal time, for example), no matter how difficult this might...

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. 

Article: Money issues

What if I can't pay the bills? It can be stressful enough, worrying about a family member in Intensive Care, without the added stress of worrying about money and how you're going to pay the bills. This is especially true if your loved usually dealt with money issues, if either of you are self employed or you need to take a lot of time off work in order to visit him or her or to look after children. Can I get access to his or her bank account? You may need access to...