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Intensive Care: A Guide for You and Your Family

In the ICU – Information for family and friends

This information lets you know about what to you may expect in the ICU and after, when you go home. You’ll find out:

  • how your critical illness may be treated
  • what your recovery may be like

Not everyone will experience all of these things, but they’re more likely to if they’ve been in intensive care for more than 2 or 3 days. Most of this guide is written for you, the patient, but there is a section for your family and visitors. By reading this guide, your family will learn what your recovery may involve and it’ll give them some answers to questions they may have.

Getting well is often a long and slow process. You may not feel up to reading this information at first. Your family can keep this guide for you and give it to you when you’re ready.

Not knowing what’s going to happen can be scary when you have a critical illness. You may need:

  • a breathing tube
  • several medicines for your blood pressure or antibiotics
  • surgery
  • dialysis to help your kidneys

The information here can’t answer all of your questions, but it will answer many of them. You’ll find out what may happen and where you can find more information.

Each section covers a different stage of your time in the ICU from treatment to recovery. You can read it all at one time, or you can just read each section when you need to.

This information has been developed by people who have been treated in an ICU or are close family of someone who has. It’s been reviewed by a wide variety of intensive care professionals and adapted for use in Alberta Intensive Care Units.

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