What is Intensive Care?

What is Intensive Care?
Intensive Care is a specialised area in the hospital which cares for patients who need additional support that cannot be provided in a normal ward setting. Confusingly it is also known as Critical Care, but there is no difference between the two terms.

Why have I been admitted to Intensive Care?
Patients admitted to Intensive Care are usually critically unwell. They often require support for one or more of their vital organs such as their lungs, heart or kidneys. 

Patients who are not critically unwell may be admitted to Intensive Care if they require very close monitoring, such as after major surgery. 

 

Please click on video below for more information  

 

150,000 patients a year in the UK need to be admitted to a critical care unit. Critical or intensive care is the area in the hospital where we care for patients who need additional support that cannot be provided in a normal ward setting. Our patients are usually either critically unwell or are in the recovery phase of a critical illness. Often patients will require support for one or more of their vital organs such as their lungs, heart or kidneys. Sometimes patients who are not critically unwell are admitted if they require very close monitoring. 

Critical care units have much higher staffing levels than other wards because of the patients they care for. Our team includes doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists and support staff. The main goal of our team is to provide the best possible care and support for all our patients and their families. 

Critical care nurses look after one, or at the most two patients at a time. Often they are constantly at the patient’s bedside, particularly in the early stages or if the patient is very unwell. Whilst at times they may be required to observe other patients for short periods, our patients are constantly being monitored. 

The medical team is led by our consultants. They formally review all our patients at least 2 times a day on ward rounds, and often more frequently than that. Doctors are always present on the unit and a consultant is on duty, day and night.

We believe that an important part of our work is to try and help patients and their families understand what is happening throughout their illness. Being a critical care patient is often a very confusing and frightening experience. We hope to be able to help you understand what is happening at all stages. If you have questions about the care that you or your relative is receiving please let the team know and we will update you as soon as we can. 

 

For further patient information and patient leaflets, have a look at the ICUsteps webpage here.

 

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