Critical care can be defined as taking immediate care of people who have recently faced an accident or helping people with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Critical care or intensive care leads towards taking care of a patient undergoing a surgery, affected by an infection, involved in an accident or a patient with severe breathing problems. It is associated with a very close and constant attention put by a team of health care providers who are specially trained to handle these types of situations. Usually, critical care takes place either in a trauma center or an intensive care unit (ICU). The usage of equipments in a critical care unit involves monitors, feeding tubes, intravenous (IV) tubes, breathing machines, catheters, and some other equipment which are common in critical care units. These equipment help in keeping the patient alive, but may also increase the risk of infection. Many patients are known to have recovered in critical care. On the other hand, there are some patients who die as well. Hence it is very important to have advance directives in place. This helps the health care providers to make quick end-of-life decisions in case a you or your family member are unable to make them. The treatment and therapies of critical care include a ventilator, tracheostomy, chest tube thoracostomy, chest tube insertion, central venous catheter and arterial catheterization.
An arterial catheter is defined as a hollow, thin tube which is placed into an artery (a large blood vessel in the groin, wrist, or other regions for the measurements of blood pressure in a more accurate manner. This is often known as the “art line” in the intensive care unit (ICU). The catheter is also used for the purpose of getting repeated samples of blood whenever needed, to measure the levels of gas (oxygen and carbon dioxide) in the bloodstream.
A tracheostomy that is created surgically that goes through the neck front into the windpipe or trachea. A trach tube or breathing tube is placed directly into the windpipe through the hole in order to help you breather properly. A tracheostomy is used for the purpose of helping those who require ventilators for a period of more than two weeks or those who are undergoing the blockage of upper airways. Usually, when you are asleep under general anesthesia in the hospital, the doctor makes the tracheostomy. An emergency medical technician or a doctor is able to make the tracheostomy in a very safe manner at a patient’s bedside in an intensive care unit (ICU). The time required to perform tracheostomy is between 20 to 45 minutes.
Individuals who have a good chance of surviving with intense care and those whose conditions are potentially reversible are eligible for the treatment of critical care.
The individuals who are having a minor health issue or those with extreme health issues which are chronic and lead to eventual death, are not eligible for the treatment of critical care.
The side effects associated with critical care are very few but significant. The nurses in both surgical units and intensive care units are known to be a bit irresponsible with the assessment, management and evaluation of pain and side effects related to pain. Patients who undergo pain are expected to get their pain under control. Hence there must be an effort in the pain management behaviors. Other side effect of critical care is infection due to the use of certain ICU equipment.
It takes a day or two to recover from breathing issues. If the person is going through a viral disease or infection, it may take a week to two weeks for recovery. In case of accident, the time required will be more than the previous two situations. It will take a week to a month for recovery.
The price of critical care treatment depends on what the treatment is for. For example, the average cost of treating breathing problems ranges between Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000. On the other hand, the average cost of treating an injured person who underwent an accident costs between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000 per day. The total cost may go up to Rs. 5,00,000 or even more.
The results of the treatment depend upon many factors. If a person is brought to the intensive care unit (ICU) before the condition has not already worsened, he may have a chance of survival. On the other hand, if an individual is already facing an extremely severe condition and the chances of that particular condition being reversed is impossible, there is nothing that can be done to save him/her. A person may either live or die in critical care depending upon the situation, timing and condition of the patient.
There is a wide range of alternative treatment methods in place of critical care. This includes herbal medicines, plant extracts, aloe vera, turmeric paste application, traditional chinese medicine, honey, steam therapy (for difficulty in breathing), and many more.