An Intensive Care Unit, also known as an intensive therapy unit or intensive treatment unit or critical care unit, is a special department of a hospital or health care facility that provides intensive treatment medicine.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) provide care for patients with life-threatening medical & surgical conditions. These doctors work in the critical care unit of a hospital or healthcare facility and look after patients who have experienced invasive surgery, accidents, trauma or organ failure.

Medical Definition of ICU. ICU: Intensive care unit. The intensive care unit is a designated area of a hospital facility that is dedicated to the care of patients who are seriously ill.

When Intensive Care is needed:

Intensive care is needed if someone is seriously ill and requires intensive treatment and close monitoring, or if they're having surgery and intensive care can help them recover. Most people on an ICU have problems with one or more organs. For example, they may be unable to breathe on their own.

There are many different conditions and situations that can mean someone needs Intensive Care. Some common reasons include:

A serious accident – such as a road accident, a severe head injury, a serious fall or severe burns

A serious short-term condition – such as a heart attack or a stroke

A serious infection – such as sepsis (blood poisoning) or severe pneumonia

Major surgery – this can either be a planned part of your recovery, or an emergency measure if there are complications

What Intensive Care involves:

Patients on an ICU will be looked after closely by a team of ICU staff and will be connected to equipment by a number of tubes, wires and cables. There will normally be one nurse for every one or two patients. This equipment is used to monitor their health and support their bodily functions until they recover.

Recovering from Intensive Care:

Once a person no longer needs Intensive Care, they can be transferred to a different ward to continue their recovery before eventually going home. Some people may leave the ICU after a few days. Others may need to stay in the ICU for months, or may deteriorate there.

Many people who leave an ICU will make a good recovery. But sometimes there can be lingering problems, such as:

  • weakness and stiffness
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness) and a lack of energy
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
  • sleep problems
  • depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • problems with mental abilities – for example, not being able to think clearly, and being forgetful

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