Critical Care Services
Coronary Care Unit (CCU)
Persons with a serious heart problem are treated in the CCU. The unit is staffed with physicians and nurses who specialize in treatment of cardiac disorders. Each patient in the CCU is hooked up to a heart monitor, which allows the nurse to follow each one’s heart beat and other vital signs from a central station.
When a person is admitted to the CCU, the major concern is preventing further heart muscle damage. The doctors my use medicines to open blocked arteries, to prevent abnormal heart rhythms, and treat blood pressure problems. Testing is often done to see how well the heart is working. If a patient feels well and has not had a heart attack, they may be sent home or to another part of the hospital. If there is a heart attack, the patient will stay in the CCU until they are stable. When the risk of further heart problems is lower, they will be transferred.
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) are generally very ill. These patients may need special breathing machines when they can no longer breath on their own. They may need machines to help circulate blood in their bodies. In the ICU, medicine is usually given to patients by automatic pumps. ICU patients must be on monitors that assist the staff in continuous measurement of their blood pressure, heart beat, breathing and body temperature.
The instruments used to monitor patients and administer medicines have visual monitors and alarms that help inform the nurses of the status of the patient. Nurses staffing the ICU are specially trained in critical care procedures and equipment. They know how to respond to any changes that may occur in the patient’s medical situation. Most patients stay for more than one day in the ICU and sometimes for weeks. When they are medically ready to leave the ICU, they usually do not go directly home, but to another less critical nursing area in the hospital.