Due to the complex care and close monitoring required in Intensive Care, there are more nurses allocated to patients than on other wards. Nurses here are highly trained and equipped with the skills necessary to care for patients with severe illness requiring high levels of support. The nurses advocate for the patient and provide an essential point of contact between the patient, their families and the healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care.
There are many doctors working in Intensive Care that are specifically trained in the overall management of intensive care patients. An Intensivist is the specialist in Intensive Care medicine that leads the team of doctors caring for the patients. You will also meet several other doctors in the team including the Registrar and Resident. The Registrar is a doctor training specifically in the area of medicine called Critical Care which includes Intensive Care, Anaesthetics or Emergency Medicine. The Resident is a junior doctor on the medical team.
Patients will sometimes have multiple health issues that have brought them to hospital and the ICU. As a result you may notice doctors from many other specialties involved in patient care. Both the intensive care and speciality teams work together to manage these health issues.
Many admissions to the ICU are unexpected and this can be overwhelming and distressing for patients and their loved ones. Our social workers facilitate communication between the medical team, patients and families. Sometimes difficult and upsetting conversations are had and our social workers offer emotional as well as logistical support during these times. They can also assist with arranging accommodation and financial matters. There is an Aboriginal support service for our Indigenous patients.
In critical illness a person’s energy demands may be more or less than usual and route of delivery can be dictated by the type of illness. Our dieticians are highly skilled at tailoring a nutritional regime personalised and appropriate for each patient.
The physiotherapy and rehabilitation needs of the ICU patient can be comprehensive and our specialist team of physiotherapists have the experience and knowledge to help patients recover from critical illness, major surgery or illness.
These specialist healthcare professionals assess and manage speech, communication and swallowing related disorders. They also provide continuity of care for these issues when patients are discharged to the ward.
To keep the ICU running smoothly a large number of support staff are needed. This ranges from the receptionists at the front desk, ward clerks, research nurses, IT support and many more. As a result the ICU can appear very busy, you can always ask a member of staff who they are or if you need help and they will try to point you in the right direction.