Patients in the ICU often need extra oxygen. It may be given
through a face mask, ventilator, or nasal cannula, which is a soft tube
with two prongs that fit just inside the nose.
ICU monitors have alarms that signal nurses when something needs to
be checked, but alarms are not always cause for concern. If you feel
that a signaling alarm needs to be checked, please speak to a nurse.
a machine that helps a person breathe. Patients who have often
undergone trauma or complicated surgery may have difficulty breathing on
their own. A ventilator tube goes in through the nose/mouth so
patients are unable to speak on a ventilator, but flash cards or a
writing tablet can help with communication.
Compression Stockings -
special tight socks worn to increase circulation in the legs and
prevent blood clots. Compression stockings may go the knee or all the
way to the hip.
Frequent tests and treatments may be performed, like drawing blood
and diagnostics. At times like these, you may be asked to leave the room
to clear the area around the patient.
Medications can cause sleepiness, nausea, or confusion. Patients may
receive several types of medication including antibiotics, sedatives,
and medication for pain.
IV Lines and Tubes -
Patients can have one or more IV (intravenous) lines/tubes at a
time. IV lines can drain and suction fluids or air from the body,
provide nutrition and medication or measure heart or blood pressure.
Common equipment in a Neuro ICU includes:
- intracranial pressure monitors
- external ventricular drains
- mechanical ventilator to assist breathing
- cardiac monitors including telemetry, external pacemakers, and defibrillators
- equipment for monitoring bodily functions
- numerous intravenous lines, feeding tubes, nasogastric tubes, suction pumps, drains and catheters
- a wide array of drugs to treat the main condition(s)
Medically speaking, the Neuro ICU is a busy place and there may be
patients other than your loved one on the unit with many of the same
monitors. You should be prepared to see a lot of lines, tubes, and
equipment on many of the patients.