The Critical Care Department provides treatment to patients with life-threatening illnesses as well as those who have undergone major surgical procedures.

All patients are cared for and managed by a multi-professional team who are dedicated to delivering safe, high-quality care, supporting families with compassion and understanding during what can be a very difficult time.

The dedicated team is responsible for:

  • Looking after critically ill patients in the hospital
  • Looking after patients after major operations
  • Follow up of these patients after they are discharged to the wards
  • Follow up of these patients after they are discharged home
  • Providing first responder support to all unstable patients in the hospital
  • Providing support to all patients with serious medical illnesses and instability.

The department also specialises in the Critical Care management of vascular surgery, general surgery, head and neck surgery and major trauma.

More information

Referrals to Critical Care are made by any of the doctors or nurses in the hospital when they are concerned about a patient.

Directions from main entrance (Lower Lane)

Walk in through main entrance and turn left just after the main reception desk. Take the lift or stairs to the first floor. Turn right to join main corridor. Follow it along until reaches a T-junction and turn right. Follow the corridor and approximately three quarters along you will see sign posting for Critical Care Relatives Waiting Area on your right.

Directions from multi-storey car park

Take lift/stairs to second floor. Exit lift to the right and go through the doors onto the link bridge. Follow the bridge and take the left into the main hospital building. On your right take the lift/stairs to the first floor. On exiting, turn right on to the corridor. Turn right at the end onto the main corridor and the Critical Care Waiting Area will be signposted on your left.

Access and waiting areas

Access to the Critical Care Unit is via the relatives waiting area. The doors from the corridor are open. Doors from the waiting areas to the Critical Care area are locked and you should use the video entrance device by the door. Press the button and a member of staff will attend to you as soon as possible.

ICUsteps

ICUsteps was founded in 2005 by ex-patients, their relatives and ICU staff to support patients and their families through the long road to recovery from critical illness.

Critical Care Recovery

Critical Care Recovery has been carefully developed to offer information, advice and support on recovery after Intensive Care.

Your COVID Recovery

Your COVID Recovery helps you understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery.

Patient experiences of Critical Care

healthtalk.org

Day One

Day One Major Trauma Support provides practical and emotional support to patients and family members in the immediate aftermath of a major trauma and throughout the recovery journey.

After Trauma

A website that connects and supports survivors of traumatic injury and their families.

Coping after a traumatic event

Advice on coping after a traumatic event from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Please note that no more than two visitors are at the bedside at any one time. Relatives/visitors who are waiting will be asked to wait in the relatives waiting area.

Visiting times under normal circumstances:      

  • 1.30pm-4pm
  • 5.30pm-7pm

Please check our website before your visit to ensure there are no exceptional circumstances which mean we have to change our visiting times. If visiting is not possible we will try our best to keep you in contact with your relative via video calls.

How can I find out what is happening to my relative?

Contact numbers will be provided when your relative is admitted to Critical Care. Enquiries are welcome but we ask that you consider the following when thinking of contacting the department:

  • Nominate one family member to make phone calls to the unit where possible
  • Staff looking after your relative are often busy and may not be able to come to the phone immediately
  • Rest is very important for all patients on the unit. Phones ringing may disturb your relative and other patients, particularly at night.
  • If there is a significant change in a patient’s condition staff will make every effort to contact the nominated family member.

Critical illness can have a prolonged effect on patients, both physically and psychologically. 

Physical effects of critical illness include losing weight and muscle strength. Therapy staff will provide a rehabilitation programme to build strength and move towards independence. We will help patients with their daily needs whilst encouraging them to do things for themselves. We will also provide nutritional and dietary advice.

Psychological effects include confusion, disorientation and agitation. This can be due to the illness itself or medications used to help patients sleep and keep them free from pain.

It is common that patients can feel emotional, tearful, frustrated and anxious. They may also suffer with disturbing memories or flashbacks from their time in critical care. We will provide advice and support if this is happening.

When a patient no longer needs critical care treatment they will move on to a ward.

Leaving Critical Care is usually a positive step, however, patients can sometimes find this stressful as they no longer have one-to-one nursing. Ward staff will continue to support the patient in their rehabilitation and a member of the critical care outreach team will check on the patient after discharge from Critical Care and the team is available to provide advice and support.

Going home represents an important step for recovery but it can be frightening and emotional. Sometimes, a patient's recovery can be very slow and this can make them feel frustrated and tearful. 

Once home, the first port of call for any health problems is the GP who will have received a summary of the patient’s hospital stay. Having supportive family and friends around is also a great help to a patient's recovery.

Approximately two or three months after discharge home, patients who have needed to be on our Critical Care unit for longer than 48 hours are invited to our critical care follow-up clinic. It is possible for other health professional or patients to self-refer if they feel they would like an appointment.