Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a special department in a hospital where seriously ill patients are cared for by specially trained staff and intensive treatment medicines. It is also known as Intensive Therapy Unit or Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) or Critical Care Unit (CCU). It caters especially to patients with severe life-threatening illnesses and injuries which require constant and close monitoring and support from specialist equipment and medications.
All of this is done to ensure normal bodily functions. Patients who are admitted into ICU may be direct admission depending on the severity of the issue or they may be transferred from an emergency department if required. They can also be transferred from a normal or general ward if their health is deteriorating or the current treatment is not working as required. It is also distinguished from a normal ward as here you will find a higher staff to a patient ratio or in some cases even equal. You will find advanced medical resources and equipment that are routinely not available elsewhere.
Some of the common reason why a patient is admitted into an ICU are –
Ventilator – it is a machine which assists in breathing of the patient. Mechanical and artificial means are used as a replacement for spontaneous and natural breathing. It is done with the help of a tube that is placed in the mouth, nose or through a small cut.
Monitoring equipment – different types of equipment are used to monitor and note down the important functions of the body through which the doctors can gauge the progress. Heart rate, blood pressure and the level of oxygen in the blood is measured by them.
IV lines – IV or intravenous lines are used by inserting a line into a small vein in the back of the hand, arm or into a bigger vein in the neck to give medicines, fluid, and medications to patients who are not able to take them naturally.
Drains and catheters – When a patient is in ICU, he/she is not able to move. Drains and tubes are used to remove and clear all the build-up of blood or fluid from the body. Catheters are those thin tubes which are inserted into the bladder to drain out urine.