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Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialized nursing unit that cares for severely ill patients, including those with serious medical conditions or after major surgery or injury.  

The ICU is a large open area that uses special technical equipment such as ventilators (breathing machines) and heart and blood pressure monitors. Patients are often sedated (kept asleep) with medications. Patients are treated with more monitoring equipment, intravenous lines and medications than the regular nursing floor. Because these patients are very ill or have had major operations, there is usually one nurse caring for each patient.

Patients are monitored very closely and the noise (alarms) and activity in the ICU can be very stressful for patients and families. It is helpful to know that you or your loved one is cared for with compassion and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and respiratory and physical therapists. The nurses, doctors and other health-care providers have advanced training in life support and caring for the very ill.

We know that having a loved one in an ICU can be an overwhelming emotional experience. To help patients and their families cope with the stress of being in hospital and intensive care, social workers, mental health professionals, clergy (ministers, priests and others) and the doctors and nurses, are available to talk to you about why your loved one needs ICU care, what to expect, how you can help and where you can get additional support.  

Please be assured that the ICU team is committed to providing the best possible care for their patients.


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