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Critical Care

We have both a Critical Care Unit (CCU) and a High Dependency Unit (HDU).

Critical Care Unit is a 13-bedded unit split across two ward areas, intensive care and HDU. We have over 80 nursing staff and nine consultants.

We admit more than 1,000 patients a year and face many challenges with the scope of reasons for their admission including: respiratory failure; pneumonia; exacerbations of asthma/COPD; cardiac arrests; cardiogenic shock; sepsis and septic shock; multi-organ failure; acute brain injury; epilepsy; trauma; coma; acute kidney injury as well as elective care post-operative cases.

We have the capacity to care for seven Level 3 ICU patients, who require advanced respiratory support and/or support of two or more organ systems; and six Level 2 HDU patients who require close observation or intervention including support for a single failing organ system or post operative care; and those stepping down from a higher level of care.

CCU provides a dynamic multi-disciplinary approach to delivering patient care, working closely with visiting medical and surgical teams: physiotherapists, pharmacists, dietetics and speech and language teams. Our rehabilitation coordinator to ensure that all our patients receive the best possible care during their stay.

Continuity of support for patients discharged to ward areas is provided by our rehabilitation cooordinator and Critical Care Outreach team.

Following hospital discharge at two to three months a multi-disciplinary follow-up clinic is available for patients who have longer term critical illness issues. The team includes the Rehabilitation Cooordinator in conjunction with consultant intensivists and ITU Psychologist.

Visiting hours are 3pm to 7pm but if this is inconvenient, or you wish to spend longer with your relative or friend, please speak to the sister-in-charge.

We try to keep the number of visitors at a bedside to two at a time. If a lot of activity is happening within the unit, visitors may be asked to leave the bedside and wait in the visitors’ room until it is appropriate to return.

Children. Children are welcome to visit but please speak to the sister-in-charge first.

Accommodation. We have accommodation for relatives who need to stay overnight. Availability is limited, however, and should only be used in an emergency arrangement for one or two nights. Please speak to the sister-in-charge if you need to use it.

Refreshments. Hot drinks can be made in both relatives’ rooms. There is a fridge available with juice for relatives. The hospital has a large restaurant, a coffee lounge and shops.

We welcome relatives who wish to participate in their loved ones care. If you would like to help, please speak a member of the Critical Care team.

Many of our patients have a reduced level of consciousness due to pain relieving drugs or sedatives, or as part of their illness. In our experience we find that it is helpful for you to talk to your relative or friend even if they do not seem to respond.

Often the critically ill person needs touch and comfort as much as anything else and you can really make a difference to their experience by your presence, touch and conversation.

The Critical Care team will help you with this. Many recovered patients tell us they were aware of their visitors.

When patients recover from a critical illness, they will be discharged onto a general ward. Some patients and their families or carers can find this transition very difficult.

After the close observation and sheer number of nurses in Critical Care, it may take some time to adapt to the changing intensity of care on the wards.

The ward staff are experienced in dealing with patients who have come out of Critical Care and will be happy to reassure you if you have any concerns.

The nature of critical illness can leave everyone feeling anxious and sometimes depressed but this is both a normal and common response.

We are working to make this transition easier for everybody by improving our documentation and handover, and discussing plans of care closely with patients and their carers.

The team works hard to support the patient and their family in making the transition towards the restoration of health, and when it is accepted that survival is not possible, we will also support the family through the process of a dignified and peaceful death.

There is also the chaplaincy and spiritual care team who can help at this time.