What happens in an Intensive Care Unit?

This page aims to give simple, practical information to people whose loved one is suddenly taken to hospital and admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU).

You may feel very shocked and confused at this time. Hospitals and their procedures are unfamiliar to most of us. Each hospital varies slightly in its set-up and procedures. Do not be afraid to ask staff questions - they will be happy to help you. Not all the information on this page will be relevant to you and your loved one. It is unlikely that you will need to read all of the pages.

Emergency admission to hospital
For information and advice on admission to an ICU; what to expect in an ICU and initial interaction with a loved one in an ICU, click here.

Equipment in an Intensive Care Unit
For information and advice on equipment used in an ICU and its purpose, click here.

Staff and operations
For information and advice on the different types of staff and surgeons; operations; and drugs used in an ICU, click here.

Practicalities when visiting an Intensive Care Unit
For information and advice on visitng hours; car parking and travel; facilities at a hospital; personal items for a loved one; talking to other about your loved one; and waiting for your loved one to recover, click here.

Recovery/death in an Intensive Care Unit
For more information and advice on death in an ICU; organ and tissue donations; spending time with your loved one's body; issues for recovering patients; and care your loved one recieved in an ICU, click here.  

Emotional support
For information about organisations you can contact concerning all of the above; and organisations offering emotional support, click here.