Critical Care Clinical Psychology offers patients, and their families support with the psychological impact of their critical illness and Critical Care admission.

Following a Critical Care admission, either at Aintree University Hospital or Royal Liverpool University Hospital, you may experience a range of unfamiliar feelings and reactions associated with the shock of being critically unwell.

It is common to have little or no memory of the events leading up to your time in Critical Care which can be confusing. Waking up after being sedated in an unfamiliar environment can leave you feeling anxious and frightened. You may have difficulties making sense of what has happened and experience a range of emotions such as feeling anxious or worried, fearful, angry, or low in mood.

During your Critical Care admission, you may have experienced severe confusion which is referred to as ICU delirium. It is common for critically unwell patients to see or hear things which are not there but seem very real to them – called hallucinations. They can be frightening and even when the delirium is resolved it is normal to continue to feel distressed by disturbing images or dreams of delirious experiences. You may feel anxious and notice changes in your concentration and memory.

Speaking with the Critical Care Clinical Psychologist can help you manage your hospital admission and make sense of what you have been through. You can see the critical care Clinical Psychologist whilst you are in critical care or when you move to the ward.

If the psychological impact of your Critical Care admission continues to cause you distress once you have been discharged, you may be followed up in the Critical Care Clinical Psychology follow-up clinic. This will give you a chance to reflect on what has happened to you and help make sense of your time in Critical Care. It is also possible to arrange a visit back to the Critical Care Unit.

More information

Referrals to the service are usually actioned by Critical Care colleagues, although occasionally, can be from other specialities where psychological distress is identified as being due to a Critical Care admission.  

Patients can request a referral to Critical Care Clinical Psychology through their medical team.