Patient safety is important in critical care
“After I had a medical emergency, I spent 11 days in hospital. Four of these days were in their Intensive Care Unit.” shares Eileen, a recent patient at Brockville General Hospital. “Without their support, I would not have had such a successful recovery. I don’t think people realize how important this service is within the hospital. The care I received from each of the specialists - the doctors, nurses and therapists - were vital to my care and recovery.”
Patients facing immediate life-threatening health conditions, like organ failure, are cared for by a specialized team in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The team of critical care specialists use advanced therapeutic, monitoring and diagnostic technology to maintain organ system functioning and improve the patient’s condition. Once the patient is stabilized, their underlying injury or illness can be treated.
Beginning April 22, BGH’s intensive care - or critical care - unit will be operating at 100% capacity. With nine beds in total, the unit will be ready to serve patients needing the specialized care services.
Critical care units play a vital role in hospitals like BGH. If the unit is overwhelmed with a sudden spike or surge in patient volumes, surgeries can be cancelled and emergency department wait times can get backed up.
The ICU at BGH can care for up to 9 patients at a time. We have recently been unable to offer all of those beds for patients due to a shortage of specialized staff. Nurses in this area are required to be specially trained to meet the needs of patients. Recent recruitment for the department has enabled BGH to return to a fully functional unit. BGH provides critical nurse training through the Critical Care Nurse Training Fund, available through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
To support patient need and the growing department BGH continues to actively recruit for critical care physicians.
- Common roles within the ICU are the Medical Director, who may provide oversight with respect to patients’ conditions as well as administrative activities in the unit; the Unit Manager, who oversees operational activities in the unit, such as staffing and budgeting; and the Most Responsible Physician (MRP), who is the person primarily responsible for a specific patient’s care. These health care professionals work around the clock to save the lives of critically ill patients.
- Patients can be admitted to the ICU from the emergency room, hospital wards, following surgery or direct from another provider.
- According to CIHI, the use of ICUs in Canada is increasing faster than acute care hospitalizations overall. In 2013–2014, there were more than 230,800 adult ICU admissions in Canada, an increase of 12% since 2007–2008.