Visiting an ICU can be very tiring. It is understandable to be worried about your relative but it is important to take care of yourself. Try to get rest as often as you can and attempt to sleep during the night not the day. Remember to eat sensibly as you will need your strength.


It is natural for family and friends of a seriously ill person to ask nursing and medical staff: 'What are their chances?' It is not always possible for doctors and nurses to know what is going to happen. A very ill patient may improve or deteriorate quickly. Sometimes the health of a patient whose life is at risk can see-saw. In this situation medical staff may refer to a patient's condition as 'critical' or they may talk of a patient's chances of survival. Each patient is different so it is not possible to generalise. The doctors will give you as much information as they can. As patients in an ICU are often very weak, it is possible for serious complications such as organ failure or infections to develop in addition to their original problems.

If your relative is in an ICU for a long time, you may find visiting becomes harder. It is common to feel helpless at this time. You could pass the time by reading to your relative, perhaps extracts from a favourite book or a newspaper. You may wish to ask if you can help care for your relative, perhaps by combing their hair or washing their face. Many people find it helps to do something positive at such a difficult time.