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Intensive Care

Critical care, also known as intensive care, is needed if someone is seriously ill with life-threatening conditions and requires intensive treatment and close monitoring. This is carried out in a ward called the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). These wards within the hospital are staffed with a multi-disciplinary healthcare team equipped and designed to closely monitor and treat patients with life-threatening conditions. Patients may need specialist treatment because one or more of their body systems, such as their heart, lung, or kidneys, are not working properly.

Because our patients are often very unwell, they will have much greater care needs than those patients being cared for on more general wards within the hospital. For this reason, each nurse will care for one patient only at a time and patients will be reviewed by different teams regularly.


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Article: ICU dietitian

ICU Dietitians are responsible for making sure that patients gets the right food and enough food (nutrition). This often involves having liquid food given through a feeding tube which is put in through the nose (nostril) down into the stomach (called a nasogastric tube or NG tube) or sometimes nutrition (food) can be given as a drip straight into the bloodstream through tube inserted into the vein (central line). If a patient can eat, they may be given high energy and protein food or drinks...

Article: ICU Doctors

ICU Doctors are led by a critical care consultant who has overall responsibility for a patient's care. They are assisted by a medical team of specialist registrars, and junior doctors. During the daily ward round the team will check each patient, make decisions on treatment, prescribe medicines, and plan for care. The team will also review each patient's care during the evening and night. Doctors who are specialists in other areas may also visit you. They may be medical, surgical,...

Article: ICU Domestic Services Staff

Domestic services staff, play an important role, keeping the ICU clean. This makes sure the ICU is safe place to be treated and stops infections spreading. They will be a member of staff on the ICU at all times to do routine cleaning and planned deep cleaning on a regular basis.

Article: ICU Handover and ward rounds

Handover and ward rounds – The nurses start the shift by hearing about the patient's progress since they came into Intensive Care and over the previous shift. At the beginning of each shift the nurse will carry out a full assessment of the patient by checking their charts (including things like vital signs, blood results and medications), checking that all equipment is working as it should and carrying out a full body assessment (e.g., checking the patient's skin, including...

Article: ICU Investigations/procedures/transfers

Investigations/procedures/transfers- Whilst patients are on ICU, they might need tests or investigations and undergo procedures. These are done to help diagnose what is medically wrong. Wherever possible the tests and procedures are done on the ICU for example an X-ray, bronchoscopy (camera into the wind pipe/ lungs), endoscopy (camera into the body). However, some tests such as a CT scan or MRI scan will be done in the radiology department, where the specialist equipment is...

Article: ICU nurses

ICU Nurses monitor patients for changes in their condition, give medicines and specialist treatments and attend to the patient's personal needs. Bedside nurses care for a maximum of two patients. They spend the most time with the patient and will be able to answer questions about the patient's care. They are supported by clinical technicians, health care assistants, a nurse-in-charge (deputy sister, sister, or charge nurse), renal nurse specialists and research nurses. The nursing...

Article: ICU Occupational therapists

ICU Occupational therapist help; prevent disability promote quality of life encourage engagement in meaningful activities. They assess functional and thinking ability whilst supporting with the following: Early engagement in grooming tasks e.g. brushing hair Finding the right seating to sit out of bed comfortably Use of mobile phone/technology to communicate with loved ones Providing reassurance and reorientation to manage delirium (confusion)

Article: ICU patient diaries

Patient diaries Patients admitted to the intensive care unit often suffer from memory lapses that leave them unable to remember what happened to them immediately before or during their stay. This often leaves them distressed and traumatised. ICU diaries are a tool, usually completed in a paper booklet, used by members of the ICU team to aid patients during the recovery process, helping them understand why they were unwell, the care they were given and make sense of their experience....

Article: ICU pharmacists

ICU Pharmacists give advice on medicines. This may include making sure that patients are on the most appropriate medicine and dose, monitoring the effects of medicines and minimising any side effects. They also advise critical care staff on the safest way to give medicines.