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ICU Layout

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ICU Layout

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  1. ICU Layout The intensive care unit should be easily accessible by departments from which patients are admitted and close to departments which share engineering services. It is desirable that critically ill patients are separated from those requiring coronary care or high dependency care where a quieter environment is often needed. It is possible to provide intensive care and high dependency care in the same unit so long as patients can be separated within the unit. However, the differing requirements of these patients may limit such flexibility. The floor sizes given below represent a minimum guide.

  2. Size Intensive care bed requirements depend on the activity of the hospital with additional beds required for regional specialties such as cardiothoracic surgery or neurosurgery. Small (<6 beds) or very large (>14 beds) units may be difficult to manage although larger units may be divided operationally and allow better concentration or resources.

  3. Patient areas Patient areas must provide unobstructed passage around the bed with a floor space of 20m2 per bed. Curtains or screens are required for privacy. Floors and ceilings must be constructed to support heavy equipment (some may weigh 1000 kg.) Doors must allow for passage of bulky equipment as well as wide beds. Every bed should have access to a was hand basin. The specification should include at least 1 cubicle per 6 beds with 30m2 floor area for isolation. Air conditioning should allow for positive and negative pressure control in cubicles, temperature and humidity control.

  4. Services must include adequate electricity supply (at least 20 scokets per bed) with emergency back-up supply. Oxygen (3) medical air (2) and suction (2) outlets must be available for every bed. The bed areas should have natural daylight and patients and staff should ideally have an outside view. Communications systems include an adequate number of telephones to avoid all telephones being in use at once, intercom systems to allow bed to bed communication and a system to control entry to the department. Computer networks should enable communication with central hospital administration and laboratory system. Other areas Other areas include storage space (12m2 per bed), dirty utility (20m2), clean utility (10m2), Offices (45m2), doctor’s bedroom (15m2), laboratory (15m2), seminar room (30m2), cleaner’s room (10m2), staff rest room, locker room, toilets, relatives’ area, bedroom and interview room.

  5. ICU Staffing (Medical) Intensive care has evolved from the early success in simple mechanical ventilation of the lungs of polio victims to the present day where patients admitted to intensive care will usually have failure or dysfunction of one or more organs systems requiring mechanical support and monitoring. The intensive care unit should have dedicated consultant sessions allocated with additional allocation for management and audit activities. These sessions should be divided between several intensive care specialists. In addition, the intensive care specialist should be supported by junior doctors in training who can provide 24h per day cover on a rota which provides for adequate rest.

  6. Required skills of intensive care medical staff. Management Senior intensive care medical staff, together with their senior nursing colleagues, command the primary responsibility for the financial management of the intensive care unit. It is through their actions that treatment of the critically ill is initated and perpetuated; they are ultimately responsible for the activity of the unit and patient out come. Decision making In the ICU most decisions are ultimately made by team consensus. Clinical decisions in the intensive care unit can be thought of under three categories : i) Decisions relating to common or routine problems for which a unit policy exists; ii) Decisions relating to uncommon problems requiring discussion with all ICU and non-ICU staff currently involved and.

  7. Decisions of an urgent nature taken by intensive care staff without delay. Practical skills • Expertise in the management of complex equipment, monitoring procedures and performance of invasive procedures are required. • Clinical experience • Medical staff require experience in the recognition, prevention and management of critical illness, infection control, anesthesia and organ support.

  8. Technical knowledge The intensive care specialist has an important role in the choice of equipment used in the intensive care unit. Pharmacological knowledge drug therapy regimens are clearly open to the problems of drug interactions and, in addition, pharmacokinetics are often severely altered by the effects of major organs system dysfunction, particularly involving the liver and kidneys. Teaching and training The modern intensive care specialist has acquired a number of skills that cannot be gained outside the intensive care unit. It is therefore necessary to be able to provide this education to junior doctors in tainting for intensive care.

  9. ICU staffing (nursing) Critically ill patients require close nursing supervision. Many will require 1:1 nursing throughout a 24h period while other are of a lower dependency and can share nurses. A few patients are so ill with the need for multiple interventions that their real nursing requirement is >1:1. In addition to the bedside nurses, the department needs additional staff to manage the day to day operation of the unit, to assist in lifting and handling of patients, to relieve bedside nurses for rest period and to collect drugs and equipment. These additional nurses can be termed the fixed nursing establishment and the nature of their duties is such that they will usually be higher grade nurses. The bedside nurses are a ‘variable establishment’ and their numbers are dependent on activity such that more patients require higher numbers. Most departments fix their variable establishment by assuming an average activity.

  10. Fixed establishment In the UK providing 1 nurse per shift for 24h per day 7 days per week requires 4.5 nurses. In addition, staff , leave, study leave and sickness are usually calculated at 22% such that 1 additional nurse is required. Thus the provision of 1 nurse in charge of each shift and 1 nurse to support the bedside nurses requires 11 additional nurses. In larger units there may be a need for additional support nurses and less in smaller units. Variable establishment The same principles apply for the provision of bedside nurses. Thus, to provide 1:1 nursing for a bed requires 5.5 nurses and to provide 1:2 nursing requires 2.75 nurses. The total number required depends on the occupancy and the nurse to patient ratio for each occupied bed. One of the difficulties in staffing an intensive care unit relates to the variable dependency and occupancy.

  11. An average dependency weighted occupancy (average occupancy x average nurse to patient ratio) should be used to set the establishment of bedside nurses with additional nurses being drafted in from a bank or agency to cover peak demands. Skill Mix Nursing skill mix is the subject of much controversy as the need for economy is balanced against the need for quality. As stated above the fixed nursing will usually be of higher grade since the role incorporates the administration of the unit and supervisory nursing. The bedside nurses will be made up of those who have received post qualification training in intensive care and those who have not. The ratio of trained to untrained intensive care nurses should be of the order of 3:1 of facilitate in service teaching.

  12. Medicolegal aspects The intensive care unit is a source of many medicolegal problems. Patients are often not competent to consent to treatment. They may be admitted following trauma, violence or poisoning, all of which may involve a legal process. Admission may also follow complications of treatment of medical mishaps occurring elsewhere n the hospital. The nature of critical illness is such that complication are common and litigation may follow.

  13. Consent Many procedures in intensive care are invasive or involve significant risk. The patient is often not competent to consent for such treatment such that the next of kin must be involved. It is essential that the risks and benefits are explained to the person giving assent and a chance is given for the patients wishes to be taken into account. It is all too easy to achieve assent from a relative without giving adequate explanation of the option. Research present consent problems in the critically ill and requires close ethical committee supervision.

  14. Note keeping It is impossible to record everything that happens in intensive care in the patients’ notes. The 24h observation chart provides that most detailed record of what has happened but summary notes are essential. Such notes must be factual without unsubstantiated opinions about the patient or about previous treatment . All entries must be timed and signed. Records of ward rounds must record the name of the consultant leading the round. It must be remembered that the notes may be used later in legal proceedings. They may be used against you but if well kept will usually form the best defence. In the event of a medical mishap the episode should be clearly documented after witnessed explanation to relatives.

  15. Dealing with the police Most police enquiries relate to patients who are admitted after suspicious circumstances. While there is a duty to patient confidentiality it may be in the patient’s interests to impart information about them. This may be with the consent of the patient or the next of kin. Written statements or verbal information may be requested. Any information given should avoid opinion and stick to facts.

  16. Dealing with the jurist • The Corner must be informed of any death where as death certificate cannot be issued. • Death certificate can be issued where the death is due to a natural cause and the patient has been seen professionally by the doctor within 14 days prior to death. • The table documents the conditions requiring the coroner to be informed. Where there is any doubt the corner should be informed.

  17. Deaths which must be informed to the jurist Unidentified body No doctor attending within prior 14 days Death without recovery from anesthesia Sudden or unexplained death Medical mishap Industrial accident or disease Violence, accident or misadventure Suspicious circumstances. Alcoholism Poisoning Death in custody