What happens

What does all the equipment do?

The initial reaction on entering an ITU for the first time can be overwhelming. We would like to simplify the functions of the equipment with these short explanations.

A ventilator is a machine that assists a patient’s breathing.  It pushes air into the lungs via a tube (endotrachael tube) that is placed into the windpipe via the mouth or nose.  The ventilator can either ‘breathe’ completely for the patients or it can be set to assist in the patient’s own breathing.  A patient cannot speak whilst on the ventilator and they will need regular suctioning via the endotracheal tube to remove secretions from the lungs.

All patients are attached to monitors, which are like TV screens that constantly provide the staff with information such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation as will as other specific needs.  These are very sensitive and can alarm to alert staff to changes on the monitor.

All patients have various drips attached to their body to provide hydration as well as infusing all the necessary drugs, such as sedation and pain killers, to ensure that they are comfortable.  Please feel free to ask a member of staff about any of the fluids.

Relative and friend may look different due to all the equipment and nature of their illness and it is understandable that you will feel anxious about what to expect.  The nurses are here to support you through this difficult time.  Please feel free to talk to your loved one to let them know you are there and don’t be afraid to touch them.  If you would like to be involved in any care such as bathing, please tell one of the staff.  You are certainly under no obligation to help but doing so can often bring some comfort.