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 tomonitor their health and support their bodily functions until they recover.

Equipment that may be used on an ICU includes:

  • a ventilatoramachine that helps with breathing; a tube is placed in the mouth, nose, or through a small cut in the throat ( tracheostomy )
  • monitoring equipmentused to measure important bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure and the level of oxygen in the blood
  • IVlines and pumpstubes insertedinto a vein (intravenously) to provide fluids, nutritionand medication
  • feeding tubestubes placed in the nose, through a small cut made in the tummy, or into a vein if a person is unable to eat normally
  • drains and cathetersdrains are tubesused to remove any build-up of blood or fluid from the body; catheters are thin tubesinserted into the bladder to drain urine

Someone in an ICU will oftenbe on painkilling medication and medication that makes them drowsy (sedatives). This is because some of the equipment used can be uncomfortable.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018