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