The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is run and staffed by specialists trained in intensive care. Once a patient is admitted onto the unit, the intensive care team will manage the care of the patient, whilst consulting with the original team who admitted them into hospital and any other specialists they think will help the patient’s recovery.
The ICU doctors and nurses will give the best overview and general update on the patient’s condition, but relatives may be referred to other specialist teams to discuss certain aspects of care.
Who we are
There are many people you may see when visiting the ICU:
Consultants are the most senior members of the team who will be assisted by other doctors, nurses and specialists.
The Intensive Care consultants are in overall charge of the ICU on a day to day basis. They are responsible for the care of the patients.
The consultants have doctors working for them, one of whom is based in the ICU at all times.
A sister/charge nurse or senior staff nurse coordinates the nurses on each shift. Each nurse looks after one or two patients in the unit depending on if the patient requires intensive care or high dependency care.
If you are visiting a friend or relative in the ICU, the nurses will be the members of staff you will see most often.
Physiotherapists help with treating patient’s chests to ensure there is no build up of fluids that can increase the chance of infection. The physiotherapist also helps with patients who are recovering by helping them to exercise, mobilise and help them transfer from a bed to a chair.
Pharmacists monitor the patient’s medication. They review the patient’s drug chart and make sure doses are correct and that any problems with any medications are identified. The pharmacist also makes sure the unit is stocked with enough medication.
Speech and language therapists
Speech and language therapists, sometimes known as SALT, work with patients who have trouble swallowing or chewing, or are having difficulties communicating. They can offer expert advice on these problems as well as supporting the patient’s recovery.
Dieticians ensure the patients in the ICU are receiving the correct nutrients. This is particularly important if patients are being tube fed or are receiving nutrients directly into a vein.
Healthcare assistants are employed to help the nurses. They assist the nurses with caring for the patients as well as stocking equipment and laundry.
ICU technologists make sure that the equipment used in the ICU is safe and effective. They are responsible for maintaining and repairing the equipment.
Ward clerks take care of the medical records in the ICU, as well as performing other administrative duties.