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Using a constructivist grounded theory methodology, the reviewers undertook in‐depth interviews within an 800-bed UK district general hospital with a small group of survivors of critical illness and their family members. It concluded that survivors of critical illness, together with family members experience challenges when endeavouring to readjust to life post critical care. The authors report that the core difficulty is survivors reporting having little recall of the factual events of their critical illness, whereas relatives report lived experience of the whole event in a very real and ingraining manner. Exploring the dynamic interplay between intrapersonal, interpersonal and societal factors, the authors provide theoretical insights with practice implications in relation to surviving critical illness.