The answer to this question depends on what is causing the respiratory problem. Respiratory problems are treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but not all respiratory problems need to be treated in the ICU and not all patients in the ICU have respiratory problems. If the patient needs respiratory support, such as a ventilator, then the patient needs to be in the ICU. If the patient needs intensive monitoring to prevent the need for a ventilator, then that patient is also in the ICU. The ICU is the best place to be for any patient that needs intensive monitoring or frequent treatments.