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Is an intensive care unit (ICU) different than an emergency room (ER)?

Deb Cordes
Deb Cordes on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

The ICU is indeed different than 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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.