What is intensive care?

Intensive care involves the close and constant attention to patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses and these may include severe accidents with injuries to many organs, severe infections, complicated surgeries, poisonings or massive heart attacks.

Intensive care usually takes place in a specialized department of the hospital called the intensive care unit (ICU). Patients in the ICU usually require medications and equipment to support normal bodily functions as the patients recover from the illness or injury. These patients may be connected to equipment that monitors vital functions such as blood pressure, heart rate and the amount of oxygen in the blood. They may also be connected to life-sustaining equipments such as ventilators or dialysis machines.

Throughout this time, the patients are taken care of by a highly-trained team of healthcare professionals, usually led by doctors with a high degree of medical expertise. In most ICUs, each nurse is assigned to only one or two patients in order to provide close monitoring and attentive nursing care.

An ICU is a very daunting environment for both the patients and their families. The tubes, wires, cables and equipment are potentially uncomfortable and patients are often prescribed painkillers and medications to make them more comfortable but these can also cause drowsiness.