Intensive care

Intensive care
Intensive care units (ICUs) are specialist hospital wards that provide treatment and monitoring for people who are very ill. They’re staffed with specially trained healthcare professionals and contain sophisticated monitoring equipment.

ICUs are also sometimes called critical care units (CCUs) or intensive therapy units (ITUs).

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 in an ICU have problems with 1 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 stroke
  • a serious infection – such as sepsis or severe pneumonia
  • major surgery – this can either be a planned part of your recovery, or an emergency measure if there are complications

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