What is an ICU?
The acronym ICU stands for Intensive Care Unit. These are special hospital areas to look after people who are very ill. The ICU staff will be specially trained to handle emergencies and the room is usually secluded from the usual hustle bustle of the hospital.
Why is it important to choose a hospital with an ICU in case of an emergency?
An ICU is different from other units of a hospital. It is a much more specialized place where
1. Seriously ill patients are closely monitored
2. Special equipment is available to aid in patient monitoring, stabilizing and recovery
3. Specially trained nurses work around the clock
4. The ratio of nurse to patient is 1:2 usually
5. There are resident doctors on call around the clock
What kind of facilities does an ICU have?
Usually the equipment in an ICU would include:
- a ventilator (This is a machine that helps with breathing. It uses a tube that is placed in the mouth, nose, or through a small cut in the throat)
- monitoring equipment ( These are used to continuously monitor heart rate, blood pressure, the level of oxygen in the blood and other organ functions)
- IV lines and pumps (These include tubes that will be inserted into the vein to provide blood, fluids and medication)
- feeding tubes (Most patients in the ICU may be unable to eat normally, so tubes will be inserted in the nose, or through a small cut made in the tummy, or into a vein to ensure that the person gets adequate nutrition)
- drains and catheters (Patients may be unable to release bodily waste normally and hence drains are tubes are used to remove any build-up of blood or fluid from the body)
- other equipment like dialysis machines for patients with kidney failure, ECMO for people with heart failure etc.
- some types of movable equipment like scanning and X-ray machines may also be brought to the room for use.