Bermuda Hospitals Board Invites the Public to Learn About Critical Care Services

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurses at Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) are organizing their first-ever Critical Care Week, beginning 4 June. Members of the public are invited to stop by an Information Booth on Monday in the lobby at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) from 10:00am to noon and to an Open House in the ICU from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on the same day.

The campaign’s theme, Critical Care Nurses- Caring beyond Technology, focuses on the role ICU nurses play, combing compassionate care with expertise in evidence-based best practices, treatment protocols and healthcare technology.

Critical care nurses practice in settings where patients require complex assessment, high-intensity therapies and continuous nursing vigilance. They rely upon a specialized body of knowledge and skills to treated critically ill patients and create environments that are healing, humane and caring.

Veronica Coburn, BHB Clinical Manager for the ICU said, “We want patients and their relatives to understand what to expect if they are admitted to the ICU. Our nurses deal with the human responses to potential and actual life-threatening health problems and are responsible for ensuring acutely ill patients receive optimal care. We appreciate people may feel intimidated by the range of very high tech and life-saving equipment we use daily on the unit. We are inviting the public to stop by the lobby and the ICU this week to meet our team members and learn about the technology we use. In addition to being highly skilled in critical care procedures, our nurses provide a caring environment for patients and their family members and also play a key role in patient advocacy.”

Lynnette Raynor, BHB Clinical Director of Critical Care Services said: “Patients and their families rely on ICU nurses during one of the most vulnerable times in their life. Respecting and supporting the basic values and beliefs of the patient during this time is a priority for the ICU team. Their role includes intervening when the best interests of the patient are in question and ensuring the patient or a designated surrogate is in a position to make autonomous, informed decisions.”

In addition to Monday’s Open House, the ICU team has organized public health screenings during the week. They will monitor blood pressure and blood sugar levels and discuss organ donation between noon and 2:00pm at the Transport Control Department on Monday and at Butterfield Bank on Reid St. on Wednesday. They will also visit Berkeley Institute and Sandy’s Secondary School to discuss career options in critical care nursing with students.

Notes to Editors:
Critical care nurses provide education and support to help patients and their family members make appropriate medical decisions and intercede for patients who cannot speak for themselves in situations that require immediate action. They will also act as liaisons between the patient, the patient´s family and other healthcare professionals. The critical care team includes Intensivists, Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Infection Prevention Practitioners, Medical Social Workers, Dietitians and Physiotherapists.

Approximately 400 patients are treated annually in the hospital’s ICU by a team of twenty-five nurses. On average, 80 patients are sent by air ambulance from the ICU for care at overseas facilities. The nine-bedded unit is equipped with acute care, physiologic monitoring systems which measure and display data on vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output and blood oxygen levels. Other items include:
• Pulse oximetry for monitoring oxygen saturation
• Telemetry for monitoring cardiac rhythms of all heart patients on the wards
• Intracranial pressure monitors for measuring pressure in the brain in patients with head trauma, tumors, edema or hemorrhaging
• Apnea monitors to measure breathing
• Portable dialysis units for patients requiring haemodialysis
• Ventilators for assisting pulmonary ventilation in patients who cannot breathe on their own
• Infusion pumps for delivering fluids intravenously
• Crash carts containing emergency resuscitation equipment for patients who are “coding” (that is, their vital signs are in a dangerous range), including a defibrillator, airway intubation devices, resuscitation bag/mask, and medication box.

In addition, diagnostic devices commonly used in the ICU include mobile X-ray units for bedside radiography, ultrasound equipment to assist with diagnoses and point-of-care analyzers for blood screening.

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