Relocation stress in critical care: a review of the literature

AA McKinney, Vidar Melby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Transfer to the ward following a period in intensive care may cause stress for patients. A review of the literature reveals that this phenomenon has been described in a number of different ways, such as transfer stress, transfer anxiety, translocation syndrome and, more recently, relocation stress. This paper reviews the various concepts before arriving at a more operational definition of the phenomenon. It attempts to reveal what causes this phenomenon and to what extent it exists. Patients' responses to transfer are identified and the physical and psychological problems that have been associated with discharge from intensive care are discussed. Lists of interventions that the literature suggests may reduce or prevent this phenomenon from occurring are reviewed. Recommendations for practice development and further research are made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-157
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Aug 2001


  • anxiety
  • critical care
  • discharge
  • relocation
  • stress
  • transfer.


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