The ICU and Critical Care


The ICU and Critical Care

The sight of a loved one in distress can make even the strongest person feel panicked and frozen. In a matter of moments, you may need to make the decision to seek medical care; and if the condition is life-threatening, your loved one may be admitted to the ICU to receive critical care.

The ICU can feel like a scary place, with robotic sounds and a high-speed blur of doctors, nurses, medical staff, and unfamiliar medical equipment. To stay centered, prepared, and informed for your loved one in their time of need, know what means for your loved one to receive critical care in the ICU.

What Is Critical Care?

Critical care refers to round-the-clock care and monitoring of patients dealing with life-threatening conditions and injuries; it takes place in the part of the hospital best equipped to care for the sickest patients, the intensive care unit (ICU). At WWMG, our critical care is provided at the ICU at Providence Everett Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center Edmonds. Both are state-of-the-art facilities, equipped with the most advanced technologies and protocols, and highly trained medical experts.

Who Provides Critical Care?

In the ICU, seriously ill patients needing critical care can receive close and constant attention from a full team of specially trained doctors, nurses, and staff. When a patient is admitted to the ICU, they may receive care from a team of experts, including:

  • Respiratory therapists
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians (Called ‘Intensivists’ in the ICU)
  • Physical therapists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Dieticians
  • Social Workers

Other medical specialists such as cardiologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, and endocrinologists, may work with the treatment team, depending on the needs of the patient. The care team at the ICU will do whatever they can to help their patients stabilize and heal from serious, life-threatening conditions.

How Is The ICU Different?

The ICU is designed to treat only patients with severe, life-threatening diseases or injuries, so it contains special equipment, including life support equipment, and is run by specially trained healthcare professionals. Critical care nurses who are given only one or two patients to monitor each shift provide round-the-clock care to patients in the ICU.

This level of attention is not possible in a general ward, as most nurses in non-critical care units are given a much higher patient assignment. This low patient load allows nurses to provide constant bedside monitoring, continually track vital signs, administer complex medications, and treat painful symptoms on a continual basis. Patients who are receiving critical care are given the expertise of a team of highly trained specialists who consult on a patient’s care, providing multiple perspectives and holistic healthcare expertise.

Who Is Admitted To The ICU?

A patient may be admitted to the ICU if they have just undergone a major surgical operation or are having complications from surgery. Patients who are seriously injured or have a life-threatening disease may also be transferred to the ICU. The ICU is designed to treat patients that have contracted serious infections, have severe burns or wounds, patients who have had a heart attack, or have other heart-related problems such as low or high blood pressure, or unstable heart rhythm, and patients with difficulty breathing.

Anyone who is in critical condition and needs close monitoring may be admitted into the ICU until they have stabilized. Once the patient has recovered to where they don’t require full-time monitoring and care, they are discharged to the general ward to make room for new patients needing critical care.

Critical Care At WWMG

Western Washington Medical Group’s Critical Care Specialists work at the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Everett Medical Center to provide dedicated, round-the-clock care to critically ill patients who require advanced monitoring and medical attention. Our specialized team of board-certified Intensivists is licensed to care for patients requiring critical care in the ICU. Together, our team provides comprehensive care in a state-of-the-art ICU.

Our critical care team works closely with surgeons and other specialists to provide the highest level of care to the sickest patients, using the most advanced technologies and protocols, a hallmark of our medical group.

The ICU at Providence Everett Medical Center is well-equipped to care for patients suffering from a variety of life-threatening conditions and injuries, including respiratory failure, shock, sepsis, heart failure, pneumonia, central nervous system crisis, including stroke and seizure, and multi-system organ failure, including liver and renal failure.

For more information about WWMG’s Critical Care team, click here.