What is the ICU?

The ICU is the Intensive Care Unit in a hospital. The ICU is a place in the hospital for people who are very sick. It has all the medical equipment necessary to help people. Doctors and nurses make sure people in the ICU are getting all the care they need.

Prof. Deborah Hunt
Critical Care Nursing Specialist

ICU is an abbreviation for Intensive Care Unit. Patients are admitted to an Intensive Care Unit when they are critically ill and need to be closely monitored by a critical care team. Critical Care Nurses are specially trained to provide the specialized nursing care that is required of patients in this setting. Some hospitals have several ICU's and each one is highly specialized. These include CCU (Cardiac Care Unit), CTICU (Cardiothoracic Critical Care Unit), and SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit).

The ICU or intensive care unit is an area in the hospital which provides the highest level of care and is dedicated to the sickest and highest acuity patients. ICU patients often require intensive nursing resources with nurse to patient ratios typically 1 to 2. ICUs also support patients with life support, which can include ventilators to assist with breathing, and critical care medications to assist with maintaining blood pressure and heart rates. Some hospitals have ICUs dedicated to specific patient populations, e.g. cardiac ICU, neurologic ICU, surgical ICU, pediatric ICU, and neo-natal ICU.

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

ICU stands for Intensive Care Unit. It is also sometimes called the critical care unit. It is an area of the hospital that cares for patients who are very ill. The nurses who work in the ICU receive special training on how to take care of patients who are very ill.

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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.