An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialized department in the hospital used to treat the most critically ill patients. Often, ICU patients need special equipment to help them perform basic bodily functions; these patients receive constant treatment and monitoring. At MedStar Health, we are staffed by dedicated critical care specialists committed to providing expert, personal care to you and your loved ones.

Our ICU patients have an entire multidisciplinary health care team working to care for them. These specialists include physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pulmonologists and social workers, who are trained critical care specialists.

Selecting a family spokesperson

The cooperation of family and friends is essential to properly care for patients in the ICU. Families should select one member to communicate with the physician and nurses and keep other family members informed of the patient's condition. Having one spokesperson helps ensure clear and accurate communication between the nurse, physician and family, and allows our staff to spend more time caring for patients.

Advanced Directives for ICU Patients

Advanced directives are a set of instructions that state your wishes regarding healthcare. They should address all aspects of life support so medical staff members are aware of your wishes should you become unable to voice your desires. If an advanced directive is not made, Maryland law allows someone else to make medical decisions for you. If no one has been chosen to decide treatment issues, the closest relative may be asked to make these decisions. In instances where no one is available, the court may appoint a guardian.