What happens in the ICU
Intensive care units, or critical care units, are specialized areas in the hospital where the most ill patients are treated.
In an ICU, patients are carefully watched and monitored for:
- Heart rate (pulse)
- Blood pressure
- Respiratory (breathing) rate
- Oxygen levels in the blood
- Fluid taken in (by mouth and by intravenous)
- Fluid put out through urine and various other tests
- ICU patients may need special support, such as ventilation machines, to help them breathe
- Dialysis machines, to do the work of the kidneys by filtering toxins from the body
- Life support, keeping the heart and lungs going
Intensive care staff members (doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, respiratory therapists, and others) are highly trained in advanced life support. Nurses have only one or two patients, in any cases, to watch and care for, allowing for more one-on-one care.