What is an intensive care unit (ICU)?

Intensive care refers to the specialised treatment given khổng lồ patients who are acutely unwell & require critical medical care.

An intensive care unit (ICU) provides the critical care và life support for acutely ill & injured patients.

Unless you are an emergency admission, you will need a referral from your doctor or specialist khổng lồ be admitted to ICU.

Who is cared for in ICU?

Patients may have a planned admission following surgery, an unexpected admission after an accident or be admitted because of a sudden and critical deterioration khổng lồ their health.

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ICU teams are multi-disciplinary, made up of highly skilled intensive care nurses, doctors and specialists trained in providing critical care for patients with a variety of medical, surgical and trauma conditions.

Some hospital ICUs specialise in providing care for particular health conditions or injuries including:

major trauma severe burns respiratory failure organ transplants complex spinal surgery cardiothoracic surgery.

What to expect in ICU

ICU is one of the most critically functioning operational environments in a hospital.

Every ICU in a hospital has a different environment that will reflect the specialist medical và surgical procedures they perform.

Most ICUs are fairly large sterile areas with a high concentration of specialised, technical và monitoring equipment needed to lớn care for critically ill patients.

The ICU environment can be confronting for some patients and visitors who may find the activity, sounds, machines, tubes & monitors intimidating.

When you visit someone you care about in ICU it can be an uncomfortable experience – you may feel helpless, overwhelmed, frustrated và sad. Your feelings and apprehension are understood by the staff that provide tư vấn for the people you care about.

Typically ICU also has a higher ratio of doctors & nurses lớn patients.

ICU equipment

It can be a frightening and uncertain time for you, family and friends khổng lồ see people you care about being monitored and supported by machines.

In ICU you will see many patients connected lớn a heart monitor, others will be supported with breathing assistance from artificial ventilators, be on dialysis machines and receiving a variety of intravenous infusions via tubes và drips.

Be prepared lớn see lots of lines, tubes, wires và monitoring equipment. Almost all ICU equipment uses alarms khổng lồ let staff know about a change in a patient’s condition. Not all equipment alarms signal an emergency situation.


Every ICU has a visitor policy lớn ensure the wellbeing of their patients. You will need to lớn ask ICU hospital staff about their specific visiting hours & requirements.

Visiting is usually restricted to people the patient considers lớn be immediate family.

If you are feeling unwell or have an existing health condition you should reconsider visiting ICU or discuss your circumstances with ICU staff before you plan to lớn visit.


As intensive care patients are very vulnerable to infections, it is important that visitors randy-rhoads-online.comsh their hands before entering ICU khổng lồ prevent transferring infection.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones should be turned off in ICU as they may interfere with vital electrical equipment supporting patients.


Restrictions are in place khổng lồ allow easy access khổng lồ vital medical equipment và to patients.

If you are unsure what you can bring with you check with ICU staff before you plan to visit.

Patient & family tư vấn services


Admission khổng lồ ICU because of critical illness or accident can have a huge physical & emotional impact on your life & your family.

Some ICUs have a dedicated counsellor to lớn provide tư vấn for patients và their families. These counsellors are highly experienced & have a thorough knowledge of ICU procedures.

Hospital counselling support services are also available at all major hospitals.

Pastoral care

For many people, emotional and spiritual thoughts tend to surface when someone they care about is in a critical condition in hospital.

Many hospitals provide chaplaincy and pastoral counselling services for patients, families & staff who need compassionate, professional và spiritual guidance and support.

Some hospitals also have a non-denominational chapel available for times of reflection & prayer.

Interpreter service

An interpreter service is available for patients và families if English is not your first language.

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These interpreters are specifically trained to lớn interpret medical terms into other languages. It is important that you use this service if you are having problems understanding doctors explaining information or are being asked khổng lồ provide consent for medical procedures.

Speak khổng lồ ICU staff if you would lượt thích to use interpreting services.

Costs of ICU

Your costs will depend on the procedures you need, time spent in ICU & the specialised care you require.

For an Australian patient in a public hospital in Western Australia:

public patient – no cost to lớn you unless advised otherwise private patient – costs can be claimed through Medicare và your health insurance provider.


Visiting ICU can be a confronting experience. Patients are monitored 24 hours a day. Doctors, nurses & specialists are highly trained in delivering critical care.