Research Output

Life After Intensive Care: overcoming adversity, celebrating creativity.

  We held a public engagement event at the Thistle Foundation in Edinburgh; our aim was to showcase the positive ways in which patients used creative activities (e.g. poetry, music, creative writing) and volunteering to help their recovery after Intensive Care. The event was attended by over 40 participants, including former Intensive Care patients, their family and friends, a range of professionals from across health and social care, voluntary organisations and charities (e.g. the Scottish Alliance, a creative writing group and Music in Hospitals).

We also had a number of esteemed guests/speakers in attendance, including the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Scott Hastings (Scotland international rugby player) and Tommy Shepherd (MSP for Edinburgh).

The event arose out of my qualitative research with ICU survivors in NHS Lothian. An interesting and recurrent theme has been the ways in which people use creative activities (e.g. poetry, music, creative writing) and volunteering to help them in their recoveries. We wanted to provide a space where people could share their experiences, inspire others, and make links with other groups or organisations who could support future Intensive Care patients in these types of activities.

We filmed our event, so that we could share it on an existing website that aims to support ICU survivors in recovery: Importantly, the event also doubled up as a celebration of the team’s first year together as a support group for Intensive Care patients and their family members (, and as a fundraiser

Our event was an incredible team effort, of which we were all extremely proud. Former patients and their family members helped to: organize the event (including the venue, catering and agenda); identify and contact speakers; advertise and chair the event and most importantly, to bravely share their experiences of “what helped” them in their own recoveries. Highlights were patients sharing their poetry/spoken word, music, digital imagery and experiences of volunteering. Feedback was extremely positive from the former patients and their family members, from the various professional health, social care and third sector groups attending, and from our esteemed guests.

Participants described the event as “moving”, “so positive”, “awesome” and “inspiring”. “An amazing group of people turning their ICU experience into positive support for others” (Mark Hudson via Twitter)

  • Type:


  • Date:

    02 August 2018

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    613 Personal health & safety

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Ramsay, P. Life After Intensive Care: overcoming adversity, celebrating creativity. 2 August 2018 - 2 August 2018. (Unpublished)


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