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Intensive Care

Why are some patients admitted to Intensive Care with COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory condition, which means that some patients will need specialist support with their breathing e.g. using a tight-fitting face mask (called CPAP) or a ventilator (breathing machine or life support machine). The virus affects many other organs, however, and some patients will need support with their blood pressure (with drugs or specialist equipment) or their kidneys (with a kidney machine). Some patients will be admitted to Intensive Care as a precaution, as we know that some patients can deteriorate quite quickly. The Intensive Care Unit is the safest place to look after these patients, as it has high numbers of highly skilled and staff who are very experienced in the use of this specialist support. 

Visits from family members are not allowed at this time

This is to protect family members from picking up COVID-19. We know that this will be very upsetting to patients and families.The staff will work very hard to make sure that families are kept up to date by phone. Many Intensive Care Units are using online or "virtual" visiting, which means that family members can see their loved ones, using mobile phones or tablets, and speak to them if they are awake. In this section, we’ve provided some general information on common equipment and treatments, including how and why they’re used. We’ve also provided some information on routine care, the staff who work in Intensive Care and the sorts of things they will have done to help you.

 

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Article: Weaning from the ventilator

What is weaning? Weaning is the process through which we gradually reduce the amount of support patients receive from the ventilator or breathing machine.Our aim is to reduce the amount of support the patient receives and take the breathing tube out as soon as it is safe to do so.Research has shown that the sooner we do this, the less chance the patient has of developing a chest infection (called a ventilator associated pneumonia) and the less time they generally spend in Intensive...

Web Link: When someone dies: bereavement support (Cruse)

Sadly, not everyone survives Intensive Care. We are very sorry for your loss.This is the link to Cruse Bereavement Care, with specific advice for adults, children and young people on coping with bereavement due to coronavirus. There's also practical, regularly updated information on arranging and attending funerals.

Web Link: When someone dies: bereavement support for children

We're very sorry for your loss. This link will take you to the website of childbereavement uk. They are a UK-wide organisation who can help support families with children and young adults, when there is a death in the family. They provide a free confidential Helpline, staffed by trained professionals, face-to-face support (in some areas), and helpful leaflets that you can download or print off. Please see their website to find out more.

Article: Why can’t I remember what happened to me?

Why can't I remember what happened? There are a number of reasons why this happens; the sedative drugs we use to keep patients sleepy and comfortable whilst on the ventilator or breathing machine (sedation), how very ill you were or the type of illness you had. It can take a while to clear sedative drugs from the system, especially if you needed large amounts or if you received them for more than a few days. Patients who develop kidney problems can sometimes take longer to...

Article: Withdrawing care

Sadly, not all patients survive their time in Intensive Care.Sometimes, very difficult decisions have to be made about whether or not we can or should continue providing Intensive Care treatment.

Web Link: Young peoples' experiences of ICU and recovery: a video

This link will take you to a webast from ICUsteps, the UK's leading ICU patient-led group. In this webast, Olivia talks about her experiences of having been admitted to Intensive Care multiple times, due to severe asthma. The panel includes Dr Kate Regan (an ICU Consultant), Dr Christina Jones (a former ICU nurse and post-ICU researcher) and Mo Peskett (an ICU follow-up Sister and Chair of ICUsteps). The panel discusses how we can best support younger people, and how we can learn from...