Caring for yourself when a loved one is in intensive care

When someone important to you is receiving intensive care (ICU) at either Fiona Stanley Hospital or Rockingham General Hospital (external site), it is important to remember to take care of yourself during this challenging time as well.

Remember to take care of yourself

One of the most helpful ways you can help your loved one is by remembering to also take care of yourself. Don’t feel guilty for not being by your loved one’s bedside 24 hours a day – you need some time away for a break and this also gives you loved one time to rest. Our ICU staff will make sure your loved one is well cared for and will contact you immediately if they need to or if there is any change in their condition.

Your family and friends will also be concerned about your loved one and yourself. While you will most likely appreciate their concern, taking phone calls all the time can be tiring, and you may prefer to send updates by email or text message. Some people find it easier if they pass the information to just one family member or friend who then passes it on to others.

While you may not feel like it, take time to eat regularly and rest when you can. If you become tired and ill, you won’t be able to care as well for your loved one.

When your partner is in ICU

In times of worry and stress, people often turn to their partner for support. If your partner is in hospital receiving intensive care you may suddenly feel very alone.

Be open to accepting offers of help from friends and family for activities like shopping or childcare. You may also need to consider financial responsibilities such as making sure bills are paid on time.

If you don’t feel like you can talk with other family members about your concerns in case you upset them, you may wish to speak with a social worker or a member of our pastoral care team.

As your loved one’s condition improves

Once your loved is out of immediate danger you may have a reaction to the stress that you have been under. If you feel guilty, worried or depressed, you can get help by talking with:

  • a social worker or a member of our pastoral care team
  • your GP about arranging counselling so you can talk with someone about what has happened.

Return to ICU information for family and friends

Button reads ICU family journey

Contact our ICUs

Contact the ICU at Fiona Stanley Hospital or Rockingham General Hospital (external site).