Waking up in Intensive Care

When you first come out of surgery we give you medication to keep you asleep. This is so we can make sure everything is stable before waking you up. It is a very safe place to be. You have your own nurse who looks after you and only you. Before you wake up you will be given painkillers to make sure you wake up as comfortable as possible.

When you are ready to wake up we turn the sedation drugs down and you will wake up. We take the breathing tube out of your mouth as you wake up. You will have medicines to keep you as comfortable as possible. Remember, you have your own nurse in intensive care,

who will be there to make sure you are comfortable and your needs are met, whether you need medicine, a drink or someone to sit with you and hold your hand.

In our CICU we allow visitors 24 hours a day. This means that your family can come and go as they wish, and be with you when you wake up. We have facilities for family members to stay in the hospital or very close by. You can bring some of your own home comforts, such as music, books or pictures to have during your stay. We have TV and DVD players so you can watch films and from 2013 you will be able to sit and watch TV to pass the time and catch up on your favourite programmes.

Your stay in intensive care may only be a few hours, or for several days or longer. This is something your doctor will talk to you about before having your operation.

If you have any particular fears or concerns, talk to your doctors and specialist nurses. While your stay in intensive care is unavoidable, your care team will always aim to make it as comfortable and positive as possible.

Helena Francis Clinical Nurse Specialist
Stacey Hart Sister in Cardiac Intensive Care Southampton NHS Foundation Trust