Through a descriptive survey, this study examined the pre-operative information which patients need about the events they may experience in intensive care, when they are admitted there following elective surgery. A subsidiary aim was to find out how they felt this information should be delivered. Questionnaires were posted to a convenience sample of 57 people who had been admitted post-operatively to one ICU in the past year. Forty-three (75%) of the questionnaires were returned and were analysed with the five returned in the pilot study. The results suggested that pre-operative information about ICU was perceived helpful by all respondents, particularly the management of pain and nausea, the likely site of pain, mouth care, the high nurse: patient ratio and having a urinary catheter. Information rated helpful less frequently, included noise levels, visiting times and men and women being nursed in the same room. The most popular method for receiving the information was via a pre-operative visit from a nurse working in ICU. In view of the sampling procedure and the validity of data collection methods, these findings cannot be generalized.