Patients whose conditions are life-threatening either through serious injury or illness need constant, close monitoring. They often need equipment and medicines to support normal body functions. This care is provided in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). ICUs are run by senior doctors and there are more nurses for each patient than in an ordinary ward.
Some hospitals have specialist departments for people with particular problems. Occasionally it is necessary to move a patient to a unit in another hospital to provide this specialist care.
The length of time a patient stays in an ICU depends on the extent of their illness or injuries. Most patients will recover fairly quickly; others may remain in the ICU for weeks. Regrettably recovery is not possible in all cases and sometimes a patient dies.
What happens when a patient is taken to an ICU?
When a patient is brought to an ICU it can take more than an hour for the doctors and nurses to assess the patient's condition make them as comfortable as possible and attach them to the necessary equipment.
It is normal to have to wait during this time. This can be frustrating but it is important that the ICU staff stabilise the patient's condition. A member of staff will explain what is happening as soon as possible.