Critical Care

Can the critical care team explain the lines and tubes in the ICU?

A Answers (4)

  • ADiana Blythe, MD, Pediatrics, answered on behalf of Pediatric Associates

    Almost anyone on the critical care team can explain the lines and tubes in the ICU. Critical care teams include doctors, nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, respiratory therapists and others. Do not worry if you ask more than once. The lines and tubes are complicated and the whole team is there to help you.

  • ADeb Cordes, Physical Medicine/rehabilitation, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)

    Yes, the critical care team can answer any of your questions about the lines and tubes in your family member. Nurses who work in the ICU have special training to take care of the lines and tubes and will be happy to explain to you what they are. It is important that you understand why they are being used and that the lines and tubes are to help your family member. If you understand what they are being used for than it will not be such a scary situation for you and your family.

  • ACathy Provins-Churbock, PhD, Critical Care Medicine, answered
    Walking into an ICU room can be very frightening. Family members become overwhelmed and fearful of all the equipment, lines, tubes, and the like that are connected to their loved one. Furthermore, many of these gadgets make alarming sounds. The critical care team can answer all of your questions and concerns about the equipment used. This team is made up of Physicians, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants etc. You should be comfortable asking any of them questions you or your loved one may have.  
  • You’ll be hooked up to machines so nurses can check your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other vital signs.

    - You may have a tube in your mouth and throat to help you breathe. It’s uncomfortable and you can’t talk with it, but nurses will help you communicate.

    - The breathing tube will stay in until you can breathe on your own — a few hours.

    - Tubes are used to give medicine, drain fluids, and take blood samples.

    - There may be small wires hooked up to your lower chest to pace your heart.
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