Our critical and intensive care units offer a large number of treatments that cannot be given on normal wards. To keep a very close eye on their progress, most patients are connected to several different types of monitor, which continuously measure important aspects of the patient's well-being such as blood pressure, fluid levels and heart rate. We also providecontinuous invasive monitoring, sometimes pressure recorders are put into the head to measure pressure inside the head in patients with head injuries or after surgery; drainage tubes may be put into the bladder and tubes into the stomach, usually through the nose.
The majority of critically ill patients require at least some help with their breathing, and this is provided by a machine called a ventilator. The ventilator blows fresh air and oxygen into the patient's lungs, and then lets it out again, in exactly the same way as would occur naturally.
Some patients will need their breathing to be supported for several days or more. We recommend that these patients can benefit from having the tube in their mouth or nose changed to a shorter tube that is placed directly into the windpipe through the front of the neck. This is known as a tracheostomy which makes it easier to keep a patient's lungs clean and is more comfortable for patients than having a tube in the mouth or nose. Therefore, patients can need less of the drugs that make them sleepy, which is better for their health in the medium to long term.
We also offer circulation support when the blood pressure is low using fluid replacement and drugs that increase blood pressure.
Some patients develop kidney failure during their illness, and the work of the kidneys is then done by a special machine that filters the body's waste products out of the blood, just like the kidney. Our facility provides kidney support, depending on the type of filter used, this process is called haemofiltration or haemodiafiltration.
Our intensive care nurses use a central line catheter placed in a large vein of the body to give multiple medications and draw blood quickly while arterial line catheter is placed in an artery to measure constant blood pressure and to draw blood. Vasoactive drugs may be prescribed by our intensive care doctors to support heart function including increasing or decreasing blood pressure.
Nutrition is often administered through the IV or through a tube placed into the nose or mouth and passed down to the stomach.