Patient & Family

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What Is Critical Care?​

Critical care is medical care for patients whose illness requires close, constant watch by a team of specially trained caregivers. Most critical care takes place in an intensive care unit (ICU) or a trauma center. Both places of care contain all kinds of machines, tubes, and equipment used to treat the illness.

Feeling scared in the ICU is natural. You may be meeting the care team for the first time, or you may not recognize the care equipment. But understanding how the team and equipment improve health may help you feel more at ease. Also important is learning about treatment options, which may help you make decisions about care.

THRIVE: Life After the Intensive Care Unit

Spotlight on Life After the ICU

Every year, millions of Americans survive critical illness. But, despite the efforts of their ICU, many are left with ongoing problems. Learn more about Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) and what the Society of Critical Care Medicine is doing to reach out to patients and clinical professionals to raise awareness.

Chronic Critical Illness   
Chronic Critical Illness
Information about the causes of chronic critical illness, available treatments, and recovery.
Why Do ICU Patients Look and Act That Way?   
Why Do ICU Patients Look and Act That Way? A guide to understanding how a patient looks and acts in the ICU.
Glossary   
Glossary
An A to Z list of critical care words and what they mean.