Is an intensive care unit (ICU) different than an emergency room (ER)?
Dr. David R. Heller, DO
Emergency Medicine
An intensive care unit (ICU) is where prolonged and more definitive care takes place, says David Heller, DO, from Portsmouth Regional Hospital. Watch this video to learn the difference between ICU and the ER.
Christopher Crowell, MD from StoneSprings Hospital Center explains what the ICU is in relation to the emergency room and how they are different. Watch this video to learn more.
The emergency department helps determine if an illness is life-threatening, whereas an ICU provides long-term care for the illness. Watch Justin Williams, MD, of Methodist Stone Oak Hospital, discuss the difference between the two.
Jennifer Dekoschak, RN
Emergency Medicine
The ICU is a critical care area and usually has a low patient ratio; the ER has a variety of patients, not just critical ones. Watch this video with Jennifer Dekoschak, RN from Parkland Medical Center, to learn the difference.
An intensive care unit (ICU) is different from an emergency room. The main difference is that patients stay in the ICU for continued care and monitoring. Learn more from Josh Schuster, RN and Director of the Emergency Department in this video.
Yes, there is a difference between an ICU and an ER, says Michael Dodd, MD, from Frankfort Regional Medical Center. An ICU is longer term and can be viewed as an extension of the ER. Learn more in this short video.
Pamela J. Miller, DO
Internal Medicine
The ICU is an ongoing intensive management center, whereas the ER is an initial identification and treatment center, says Pamela Miller, MD, of Fawcett Memorial Hospital. Watch this video to learn why both are important.
Deb Cordes
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Yes, the ICU is different then the emergency room. The emergency room is an area of the hospital where patients are brought first when they have had some type of accident or emergency. (For example a car accident or a heart attack). Patients are evaluated and cared for in the emergency room. Depending on how sick the patients are the emergency room doctor may send them to another area of the hospital called the ICU. The ICU is called the intensive care unit. Patients who are very sick and need specialized care are placed in the ICU. Nurses in the ICU have special training to take care of patients who are very sick.
Joane Goodroe

Intensive care and emergency room are two different areas of a hospital. The emergency room of a hospital is where ambulances bring people who are critical. It is also the area where patient's go when they need immediate care and cannot wait for an appointment with a physician. Some people who go to the emergency room will be treated and discharged while others will be admitted to the hospital for further care. The intensive care unit is where critically ill patients go until they are stabilized. Intensive care units receive their patients from surgery, the emergency room, as well as other areas of the hospital. 

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