Patient's Experience of Being Critical Ill in Intensive Care Unit
Introduction: The hospitalization of patients in critical condition in Intensive Care Units (ICU), although it contributes to the increase of their survival, at the same time contributes to the development of psycho-emotional problems or disorders. The causes have been reported to be sensory isolation, the physical stress of fixation, and the ICU environment. Aim: The aim of the present article was to capture the experiences of hospitalized patients in the ICU through a literature review. Material and Method: A bibliographic review of articles in Greek and English language of the last twenty years (2000–2020) was conducted in the electronic databases Pub med, Scopus, Science Direct and Google Scholar, using as keywords: intensive care unit, intensive care, patient experiences, and memories. Results: Research results showed that patients experience many unpleasant situations when admitted in ICU. The environment of ICU seems to have many effects on patients bringing about organic, emotional and neurological changes, affecting their subsequent quality and lifestyle. Many studies focus on patients' experiences and perceptions of the ICU environment, recalling hospital memories, perceptions of body changes, and their relationships with health professionals and the family. Conclusions: ICU patients are affected by both the inanimate and the living environment of the ICU. They experience multiple experiences which are accompanied by a multitude of physical and mental reactions resulting in the need for long-term psychological support. It is important to know how these experiences of illness and hospitalization are shaped, as this knowledge can lead health professionals and especially nurses to understand these experiences to alleviate patients' psycho-emotional reactions.