Critical Care Unit is a special department of a hospital that provides intensive care to the the patients ailing from severe illness and injuries. Most of the times the condition is life threatening and needs constant and close monitoring from the special equipments. The highly trained doctors and the intensive care nurses are allowed entry into the area. Patients are also transferred to the care unit after they undergo a major surgery to be kept under observation expecting some risk of complications. Some of the hospitals have the High Dependency Area in the unit. These areas are for patients who are not in a very critical state to appoint a bed in the intensive treatment unit. Though the names differ in every hospital, the function is the same for all.
If the person is admitted in the intensive care it is a time of great worry and stress. The noise factor is supposedly to be higher in this area as compared to the general hospital area because of the working of the equipment and the alarm. Ringing of the alarm doesn’t really indicate emergency, it usually means that there is something the staff needs to be aware of. Once the patient has recovered, they are usually transferred to the ward and they are taken care of by the ward team. Being a very crucial time for the family members, the visiting hours are kept flexible. There are times when you will be expected to wait coz of some intervention. Limited number of people are allowed near the patient keeping in mind it's well being. To keep everything under control outsiders are expected to comply to the hygiene rules as the patients are easily susceptible to infections.
Patients admitted in Critical Care Unit usually suffer from heart attack, serious burns, major traumas, failure of the organs or major traffic or industrial accidents. There are many conditions which may result with the patient ending up in the intensive care. Some are major shock restricting the flow of oxygen and blood to the organs, additional development of infections while the patient is admitted in the hospital, age and pre existing medical conditions put the patients at higher risk. Many hospitals have the care unit for specific medical conditions like Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). The care units are very well equipped with tools like mechanical ventilators, cardiac monitors, external pacemakers, dialysis machine, feeding tubes, suction pump and equipment to constantly monitor the body functions.
There is a quality and level of care that needs to be maintained in the Critical Care Unit. The recommended ratio of patient to nurse is 2:1 whereas in the real sense it is somewhere around 4:1. There is also levels defined by the department of health stating the care required by the patient at different levels of illness. The level 0 is for the patients who can be taken care by the ward staff. Level 1 is for patients who are deteriorating and can be given special care on discussion with critical care team. Level 2 are for patients who are under detailed observation having a single organ failure and need high level of care. Last is the level 3 in which patients are on respiratory support system, requiring support for multiorgan failure.
Importance of Critical care Unit