Critical care overview

Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are specialist hospital wards. We provide intensive care (treatment and monitoring) for people in a critically ill or unstable condition.

We permit immediate family and friends to visit only from 6am to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm.

CUs are also sometimes known as Critical care units (CCU) or Intensive therapy departments (ITU).

An ICU can be a daunting environment. Our staff understand this and they are there to help and support the patient and their family.

A patient in an ICU needs constant medical attention and support to keep their body functioning. They may be unable to breathe on their own and have multiple organ failure. Medical equipment will take the place of these functions while the person recovers. A series of tubes, wires and cables connect the patient to this equipment. This may look alarming and can be very uncomfortable. Patients are therefore often prescribed painkillers and medication that can make them drowsy.

Once a patient is able to breathe unaided, they no longer need to be in Intensive Care and can be transferred to a different ward to continue their recovery. Depending on their condition, this will either be a High Dependency Unit (HDU), which is one level down from intensive care, or to a general ward.

Recovery time varies greatly from person to person depending on age, level of health and fitness and how severe the condition is.

Critical care outreach service

Outreach is a collaboration and partnership between the critical care department and other departments to ensure a consistent standard of care for patients regardless of location. We also enhance the skills and understanding of all hospital staff in the delivery of critical care.

We are a multidisciplinary team of Intensive care professionals, based at Queen's, who ensure timely and appropriate management of deteriorating patients. Our multidisciplinary approach identifies patients at risk of developing critical illness, and those patients recovering from a critical illness, to enable early intervention or transfer (if appropriate) to an area suitable to care for that patient’s individual needs.

We operate Monday to Friday, 8am - 6pm.

ICU Consultant, Dr. Gonzalo de la Cerda, is our Clinical Lead for Critical care outreach and can be contacted on gonzalo.delacerda@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk

Our Senior Sister is Julie Darroch who can be contacted on Julie.darroch@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk

Critical care follow-up clinic

We know from clinical experience, and research, that patients recovering from intensive care can encounter a number of difficulties.  These can include physical health problems such as tiredness, weakness, reduced appetite, weight loss, and difficulty sleeping.  Psychological difficulties can include memory loss, low mood, unpleasant memories of their Intensive care stay and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

To ensure patients are making progress in the months following their admission, our multi-disciplinary team of ICU professionals offer an outpatient clinic to monitor recovery.

Relatives of patients can also experience difficulties and we offer our services to those relatives as well.

We are based in the Day Surgery Unit at Queen's Hospital and the clinic is held on the last Thursday of each month from 1 - 6pm.

ICU Consultant, Dr. Gonzalo de la Cerda, is our Clinical Lead for Critical care outreach and can be contacted on gonzalo.delacerda@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk

Our Senior Sister is Julie Darroch who can be contacted on Julie.darroch@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk