Intensive Care (ICU)

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) provides a service of care for critically ill or injured patients. Patients on ICU need constant medical support and may require intensive monitoring, help with their breathing, or might have a severe infection and need to be cared for using specialist equipment or resources.

Patient's bed in ICU

Why are people admitted to intensive care?

Intensive Care Units (ICU) are specialist areas within a hospital that look after patients whose condition may be life threatening - or that may - become life threatening, if not treated.

ICU provides a higher level of monitoring and treatment than a typical ward.

ICU cares for patients who need close and constant monitoring. Patients may need support from specialist equipment, and will often be on complex medications, to support their body's organs.

There are lots of reasons why patients need to be admitted to ICU, such as:

  • admission following complicated or lengthy surgery 
  • after an accident or medical emergency; for example a cardiac arrest, or head injury
  • due to a deterioration of health, or a lack of response to treatments on another ward

Get in touch

Call the ICU on 
01226 432794
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Direct contact numbers for individual bed spaces can be supplied to visitors upon request.


Weekly car parking permits can be supplied upon request for up to 2 vehicles per ICU patient for visitors to use.

Find out more information about car parking at Barnsley Hospital.

What happens in the ICU?

Each morning all patients are seen by a doctor and assessed. A plan for the day is made for each patient.

All patients are then seen again, this time by a Consultant Intensivist (a doctor who specialises in Intensive care medicine and who has overall responsibility for the unit when on duty) as part of the ward round.

During the ward round, patients will be seen, examined and their care reviewed. Decisions are made by the consultant doctor - with input from the wider ICU medical and nursing team - on how to progress care. For example, this may mean waking up the patient or deciding to keep them sedated for a further day.

Patients are under constant observation at all times, with each nurse caring for 1 or 2 patients each - maximum. This is to ensure patient safety. As well as monitoring patients’ vital signs, nurses will reposition patients and administer medication. Nurses will also have discussions with a patient's loved ones. Our nurses are patient advocates, responsible for overall patient safety and care.

Patients are also seen by other members of the team, if required. For example, a patient may receive care from a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists ensure a patient's chest is clear, and move a person's limbs and joints, to avoid stiffness and muscle wastage.

Care is provided 24/7, although we do try to keep the night time as calm as possible.

Explain my procedure

Would you like to know more about what happens in an intensive care unit, and find out what to expect if you or someone you care for needs to stay with us?

We have a set of easy to understand videos available on the “Explain My Procedure” website.

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