Critical care, also referred to as intensive care, is the overall care of patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Critical care is typically provided in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting. There are specialized types of ICUs as well, including cardiovascular (CVICU), pediatric (PICU), neonatal (NICU), and geriatric (GICU).
Who Needs Critical Care
Patients in need of critical care commonly have conditions including infection, breathing difficulties, trouble eating and drinking, and complications resulting from injuries or surgery. They require constant monitoring and may need additional medical attention at a moment’s notice. An ICU can provide treatment and care for the most serious of conditions.
What Is Involved
An ICU patient is treated by a comprehensive medical team, which often includes critical care doctors, specially trained nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and registered dieticians. Depending on a critical care patient’s needs, the ICU is equipped with an array of advanced medical tools designed to help sustain life and promote healing. Monitors track breathing and heart rate, and alert doctors and nurses when these functions are outside a desired range. Ventilators or respirators help a patient breathe by mechanical means. Catheters are used to administer medication, provide fluids, aid in feeding, and drain the bladder.
In addition to medical treatment, an ICU patient is likely to receive support from a case manager and social workers. A case manager will help a patient and his or her family with issues such as financial concerns and adjusting to life after being discharged from the hospital. Social workers can offer emotional support and additional resources to a patient and his or her family.
At Aventura Hospital, our ICU welcomes visitors 24 hours a day, and our skilled nurses are available to answer questions and talk to family members anytime as needed.