Delirium is a common occurrence for patients in the intensive care unit and can have a profound and lasting impact on them. Few studies describe the experience of intensive care patients who have had delirium.


To understand the lived experience of intensive care for critically ill patients who experienced delirium.


The study participants consisted of 7 men and 3 women, 46 to 70 years old, who had delirium according to the Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit. The van Manen method of hermeneutic phenomenology was used, and data collection entailed audio recorded semistructured interviews.


Four themes were detected: “I can’t remember,” “Wanting to make a connection,” “Trying to get it straight,” and “Fear and safety concerns.”


Nurses working in intensive care units need to assess patients for delirium, assess the mental status of patients who have delirium, and help patients and patients’ families learn about and deal with the psychological effects of the intensive care unit experience.

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