Information for the public

Critical care

Admission to a critical care area

If your consultant's team think you may need to be moved to critical care, your consultant and the consultant in critical care should agree the best place to care for you before you're moved.

Leaving critical care

When you leave critical care, you should be taken back to the general ward as early as possible during the day. You should normally only go back to the ward between 7 am and 10 pm, when there will be more staff available.

The critical care team and the ward team should jointly:

  • write a plan for your care, so the ward staff know what you need

  • make sure that the ward (with help from the critical care team if needed) is able to provide the care agreed in the plan.

When you go back to the ward, the critical care staff should have given the ward staff:

  • a summary of your critical care stay, including your diagnosis and what treatment you had

  • a plan for monitoring and investigating your condition

  • a plan for your treatment, including drugs and therapies, diet and whether you have an infection.

The staff should also know about and take into account:

  • what additional help you may need with getting well again

  • if you have any mental health or emotional needs

  • if you have difficulty communicating or if your first language is not English.

A stay in critical care is often distressing and can leave people physically weak and feeling confused. When you go back to the ward, the staff should explain your condition and encourage you to get involved in making decisions about your care. They should understand the physical, emotional and mental health needs of patients who have been in critical care.

Questions about critical care

  • Why have you decided I need to go to critical care?

  • How does being treated in critical care differ from being treated on a general ward?

  • What sort of treatments and equipment are used in critical care?

  • What will happen when I go back to the general ward?

  • What sort of help and support can I have when I leave critical care?

  • Can you provide any information for my family/carers?