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Special Care Equipment

The ICU has several medical devices that help the nurses and doctors care for patients. The machines have signals that beep and buzz. They can be startling at first, but they protect the patient.

A standard piece of equipment used for every patient in the ICU is the bedside heart monitor. This monitor includes a video screen that shows the electrical activity of the heart, blood pressure, and other measurements. A screen is also located in the central area of the unit, so that the patients can be watched—even when the nurses are not in the room.

Many critical care patients have oxygen equipment on or near them. Some patients are connected to ventilators. Ventilators provide oxygen and help the patient breathe. While the ventilator is in place, the patient will not be able to speak, but it is important to talk to them and communicate through touch.

Tubes may be connected to the patient to drain urine and other body fluids. Many seriously ill patients need to be fed through a tube in the nose or mouth that leads to the stomach. Other tubes may also be necessary to suction fluids from the mouth, nose or lungs. Intravenous (IV) lines allow medication and nutrients to be given to the patient.