Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS): Occurs when lungs are injured causing inflammation and fluid to build up in the lungs. The fluid keeps lungs from filling with enough air and deprives organs of the oxygen they need to function.
Advance care directive: A legal document that helps our care team understand your choices for resuscitation and other treatments. Learn more.
Arterial line: A thin plastic tube placed into an artery and used to monitor blood pressure and blood gas.
Antibiotics: Medications given to treat an infection.
Bladder catheter: A soft tube that is placed in the bladder to drain urine.
Blood gas: A sample of blood that lets us know how much oxygen and/or carbon dioxide is in the patient’s blood.
Blood transfusion: A blood transfusion is a way of adding blood to your body after an illness or injury. If your body is missing one or more of the components that make up healthy blood, a transfusion can help supply what your body is missing.
Cardiac monitor: A machine attached to the patient that provides information about heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.
Central line: A thin plastic tube placed into a large vein and used to give drugs and take blood samples.
Cherry blossom: A visual cue which promotes end-of-life dignity, compassion, and respect when a patient’s death is imminent.
Daily goals: A plan of care for the patient which may change each day.
Daily rounds: A multidisciplinary meeting which takes place every morning in the intensive care unit.
Delirium: A common and temporary state of confusion that may develop suddenly.
Falls prevention: Safe patient handling and movement techniques to reduce the risk of falls.
Grief and bereavement: The process of understanding and working through the loss of a loved one.
Intubation: The process of inserting a tube, called an endotracheal tube, through the mouth and then into the airway. This is done so that a patient can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing during anesthesia, sedation, or severe illness.
Isolation: Specialized precautions including the use of gowns, gloves and masks by staff and visitors which prevent the spread of germs within the intensive care unit.
Life support: A breathing machine and medications used to sustain patients who are very sick.
Medication reconciliation: A process to make sure that all medications that are taken by the patient are assessed upon admission and discharge from the intensive care unit.
Organ donation: The process of giving an organ or tissue to help someone who needs a transplant.
Palliative care: An approach to care which focuses on comfort and quality of life for people of all ages affected by life-threatening illness. Palliative approach can be incorporated into a lifesaving treatment plan.
Pneumonia: An infection in one or both lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The infection causes inflammation, making it difficult to breathe.
Sepsis: A life-threatening condition that arises from the body’s response to an overwhelming infection. Sepsis can cause organ failure, shock (low blood pressure) and even death.
Ventilator: A machine that is used to help patients breathe when they are too sick to breathe on their own.
VTE prophylaxis: Drug and nondrug treatments to reduce the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (PE).
A-B-C-D-E-F of ICU CARE: A bundle of quality care initiatives that we do to support patient recovery. The ABCDEF are listed below:
- AWAKE: Patients often need medication to keep them calm for treatments to work well. Our team adjusts these medications (Daily Awakening Trial) to ensure that patients are awake or lightly asleep and remain calm.
- BREATHING: Patients often need breathing support from a ventilator. Our team performs a daily breathing test (Spontaneous Breathing Trial) which tells us when the patient is ready to breathe on their own or if a breathing tube is still required.
- CHOICE OF SEDATION: The choice of medication is checked often. Our team re-assesses daily goals for sedation and analgesia to ensure adequate pain control and prevent/treat delirium.
- DELIRIUM: Confusion that can be caused by illness, medications, pain and other factors such as noise and interruption of sleep. We look for what may be causing the delirium and treat the underlying cause(s).
- EARLY MOBILITY: Movement and exercise are important for a patient’s recovery. Our team performs a variety of safe patient care activities including range of motion exercises, sitting up in a chair or using a bed bike.
- FAMILY: Families are considered essential members of our care team. Your voice is important and helps ensure that medical decisions are in alignment with the patient’s wishes.