Relocation stress in critical care: A review of the literature

Aidín A. McKinney*, Vidar Melby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 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
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Critical care
  • Discharge
  • Relocation
  • Stress
  • Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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