ICU Patient Diaries

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1334/2022
  • Departments: Psychology Services
  • Last Updated: 20 December 2022

Information for Patients, Family and Friends

Following discharge from ICU, 30-80% of patients experience problems such as:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Paying attention
  • Solving problems

Post-intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) is the term used to describe the physical, cognitive and mental health problems that may be experienced after leaving ICU.

A key part of restoring your quality of life, whilst reducing your chances or developing PICS, is piecing together the following information.

  • What has happened whilst I was on ICU?
  • Why has this happened?

Remembering information can be difficult when you have limited memories of this time. This is why your patient diary can help you to make sense of everything that has happened and increase your chances of recovering positively.

Information for Relatives

Your loved one may have little to no memory of their stay on ICU.

The idea of a patient diary is to document their time in ICU to help in reducing their distress and piece together what has happened.

What is helpful to include in your relative or friends diary?

  • Specific dates and times
  • Information which is familiar to your loved one (e.g. their interests, hobbies etc.)
  • Any familiar milestones

But don’t forget you are important too! Patient diaries can help to bond with your loved one and it can highlight how meaningful your relationship is with them.

Resources of Support

Intensive Care Society:
Society of Critical Care Medicine – My ICU Care:
ICU Steps:
Health Talk – Intensive Care Patient Experiences:
HealthUnlocked – Intensive Care Forum:

QR code to open leaflet