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For Visitors

Understanding the Intensive Care Unit

For patients who require frequent nursing care.

Information on the Surgical Critical Care Complex

The Surgical Critical Care Complex, which is on the second floor of Christiana Hospital, is for patients who require frequent nursing care, close monitoring and the use of advanced technological equipment.

It is staffed by trauma physicians and nurses who provide care 24 hours a day. It can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming experience while a loved one is in the Intensive Care Unit. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask our team of nurses, physicians, therapists, clergy, social workers and dietitians.

Who are All of These People?

There are many different people assisting in caring for your loved one. They include nurses, doctors, residents, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, patient-care technicians, dietitians, chaplains, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.

Rounds—a structured series of visits by the members of the patient-care team—are done each morning on all patients.

During rounds, doctors, nurses, the respiratory therapist, dietitian and pharmacist discuss the best plan of care for the patient.

Two doctors tending to patient in a hospital bed

What is This Equipment?

When entering the Surgical Critical Care Complex, it can be overwhelming to see the variety of equipment, tubes and wires that are in a patient’s room. We use specialized equipment that monitors breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygenation, a form of treatment with oxygen. It allows us to detect problems or changes quickly. These monitors are located in each room and at the nurse’s station.

You may also see other equipment in the room that assists us in providing the best care for your loved one:

  • A ventilator may be used if a patient needs help with breathing, but this will prevent the patient from talking.
  • A small piece of equipment with a red light on either the patient’s ear or finger is a device that detects oxygenation.
  • If the patient is wearing a pair of white socks or boots on each leg, these are called pneumatic compression boots. They are used to help promote circulation in the legs while the patient is in bed. These boots also help to decrease the risk of blood clots in the legs.
Nurse tending patient in intensive care

It is possible that you may hear some alarms and beeps coming from the equipment while you are in the room. Our staff is monitoring these alarms at all times. If you have any questions about the equipment or the alarms, please do not hesitate to ask.

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