Critical care beds are a finite resource. Transfer or discharge of patients from the intensive care unit affects the flow of patients in critical care. Effective whole hospital bed management is key to the successful management of the critical care service. However, admission to the critical care unit alone can be extremely frightening, distressing, and traumatic not only for the patients but their families as well. Although transfer to the medical floors is a positive step toward physical recovery, it can be equally traumatic, and many patients and their families exhibit stress, fear, and anxiety. The purpose of this article was to systematically review the effects of intensive care unit transfer or discharge to medical-surgical floors on adult critically ill patients, their family members and nurses.