Critical care explained

What is critical care? 

People who are critically ill need constant medical attention and support to keep their body functioning. Medical equipment takes the place of failing body functions to help with recovery.

Critical care is very expensive and is a limited resource. Each critical care bed provides:

  • specialised monitoring equipment
  • a very high level of medical expertise
  • constant access to highly trained nurses (usually one nurse for each bed)

Who needs critical care? 

Critical care is often needed when one or more organs have failed. For example, this may be the lungs, kidneys, heart or liver. There are several reasons why organs might fail. Some of the most common include:

  • a serious accident – such as a road accident or a severe head injury
  • a serious acute (short-term) health condition – such as a heart attack or a stroke
  • a serious infection – such as a severe case of pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) or peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining)
  • major surgery