People are transferred from the intensive care unit to a general ward when medical staff decide that they no longer need such close observation and one-to-one care. For many people, this move is an important step in their progress from being critically ill to recovering. In the UK National Health Service (NHS), general hospital wards are very different from ICU, the biggest difference being fewer nurses to look after many more patients.

Nurses can be called with a buzzer by the bed but may not come straight away and some people who have become used to intensive care find this difficult. Their experiences range from those who found this move the most difficult aspect of being in hospital, to those who were happy to be out of intensive care and on to the next stage of their recovery.

Treatments that are required will be provided on the general ward, the team on the ward will be on liaison by the ICU team.