Preparing to leave intensive care

As your condition improves in the intensive care unit (ICU) at either Fiona Stanley Hospital or Rockingham General Hospital (external site), we will start making plans to move you to a general ward.

Before you leave

As you start to get better, you will not need the machines that were supporting your body’s normal functions and monitoring your condition.

The physiotherapist will probably give you exercises to help strengthen your muscles to get you moving around again. You will be very weak and get tired easily at first.

As you become able to do more for yourself, you may be moved to a different section of the ICU or transferred to another ward in the hospital with a reduced level of nursing.

Many hospitals have high dependency units (HDU), where each nurse will normally look after two or three patients. Some hospitals might send patients from the ICU to the HDU as they get better, until they’re well enough to go to a general ward.

Moving to a general ward

This can be a difficult time for you and your family as you will no longer have one-to-one nursing care but you are still far from well.

You may need to re-learn how to do simple things such as walking, eating, drinking, or even breathing for yourself. This can be frightening but is normal at this time in your recovery.

When you move to a ward, there will be a written plan that includes:

  • a summary of your care and treatment while you were in the ICU
  • a monitoring plan to make sure you continue to recover
  • a plan for ongoing treatment
  • details of your physical and psychological rehabilitation needs.

Your ward staff will be able to talk to the ICU staff if they need to.

General ward visiting times may not be as flexible as in the ICU. You may also be disturbed more by the presence of other patients and visitors around you.

While you were in the ICU your normal sleep pattern may have been upset due to the constant activity. This will return to normal in time. Rest when you can. You may find that a personal music player with headphones helps you to relax and pass the time.

ICU support once you move to a general ward

If you are a Fiona Stanley Hospital patient, the Assessment Liaison Escalation Response Team (ALERT) nurse will visit when you are on the ward to check your progress.

If you are an ICU patient at Rockingham General Hospital, an after-hours service team is available to follow after you have moved to another ward.


Return to information about your ICU patient journey

Button reads ICU patient journey

Contact our ICUs

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