Intensive CareIntensive care refers to treatment for patients with a serious illness or injury that often takes place in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Intensive care, also known as critical care, is used for patients who have life-threatening conditions and require around-the-clock medical care. Typically provided in a special hospital ward known as an intensive care unit (ICU), this type of treatment requires specialized care from highly experienced physicians and may also involve the use of advanced medical equipment.
What Conditions Require Intensive Care?
Patients are admitted to an intensive care unit when they have a serious illness or injury that requires monitoring and treatment. Critical conditions that may require intensive care include:
- Complex injuries
- Severe burns
- Serious infections such as pneumonia or sepsis
- Heart, respiratory or kidney failure
- Heart attack
- Recovery from major surgery
Situations that lead to a patient being admitted to an intensive care unit include vehicle crashes, shootings, burn incidents, organ failure during surgery or the premature birth of a baby (the care for which will usually take place in a specialized neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU).
What Happens During Intensive Care?
Intensive care requires the assistance of many highly trained healthcare professionals within the ICU. Patients receive 24-hour care and may be connected to a variety of machines, including heart monitors and ventilators as well as several tubes for fluid and nutrient intake or outtake.
Treatments and therapies performed during intensive care can include:
- Arterial catheterization
- Chest tube thoracostomy
- Oxygen therapy
- Kidney dialysis
Visitation to the ICU is restricted, often limited only to immediate family.
How Effective Is Intensive Care?
Because intensive care is used in cases of life-threatening conditions, the effectiveness is difficult to pinpoint. The earlier a patient is admitted to an ICU, the higher the chances of their survival as critical care and support can be provided before the illness or injury worsens, causing further damage to the patient’s health.
Tampa General Hospital is proud to provide expert intensive care within our award-winning intensive care units. Along with our Medical Intensive Care Unit, where patients are treated for a wide range of critical conditions, we also have state-of-the-art pediatric and neonatal intensive care units for specialized infant and child care.