• qualitative research;
  • phenomenological research;
  • transfer;
  • intensive care;
  • stress;
  • health care audit;
  • nursing;
  • medicine

The patient’s thoughts and feelings about their transfer from intensive care to the general ward

This qualitative, phenomenological study was undertaken to find out how patients felt about being transferred from the intensive care unit to the ward. The six patients who took part in the study, had been in intensive care for more than 4 days. Their transfer was planned as part of their recovery from a critical illness. Following transfer to the ward, the patients were interviewed using a semi-structured approach. The interviews were audio-taped, and transcriptions from the tapes were analysed for meaning and interpretation.

Findings supported the literature that was reviewed, in that transfer from intensive care to the ward was a traumatic experience for the patient, who often found it confusing, stressful and tiring.

Improvements to the transfer process can be guided using the information from the literature review and findings of the study.