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Critical Care

Admission to critical care may be pre­planned for close monitoring following major surgery. It might also be unplanned, for example following a car accident, severe infection or deterioration in a patient’s condition.

The critical care units at Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary are specially staffed and equipped to closely monitor and treat patients with life-threatening conditions or who need specialist treatment because one or more of their body systems are not working properly.

Critical care units can be busy environments, with lots of activity and noise that can be frightening and distressing for visitors. The doctors and nurses will explain your relative’s condition, plan of treatment and the equipment. If you forget any of the information you have been given please just ask, the staff are always happy to give further explanations and information.

The person you care about is likely to look very different to how they would normally look and may have:

  • lots of equipment attached to them
  • a breathing tube in their mouth which is attached to a ventilator
  • a swollen face and/or limbs
  • been sedated and be sleepy or drowsy.

Despite the sedation, many patients respond to reassurance, such as a familiar voice or hand holding. The staff will make sure that you are able to be with your loved one without disturbing any of the monitoring equipment and can also tell you about the equipment and why it is needed.

Critically ill patients have a high risk of getting an infection. To help reduce this risk, please always clean your hands when you enter and leave the unit, by using the spray foam, alcohol gel or washing your hands.

If you are ill, please do not visit.

Some patients are at higher risk of infection than others or have an infection that needs isolating. These isolation rooms are restricted to close family and friends and you’ll be asked to take extra precautions in these rooms, such as wearing a mask, wearing a plastic apron and washing your hands using soap and water.