Critical Care

Caring for patients with life-threatening conditions or who need specialist treatment.

Admission to critical care may be pre­-planned 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 unit is a little different to other wards at Royal Cornwall Hospital. The Critical Care Unit page explains more. If you have any questions, you’re very welcome to speak to any of us who work in the unit.

Critical Care for Children

We are the only critical care facility in Cornwall and look after between 30 and 40 children each year for immediate and ongoing illnesses that require resuscitation, stabilisation or definitive treatment.

Although we’re not a specific children’s ward, we always work to care for children in as child-friendly an environment as possible.

Of the children we admit, about one third recover rapidly and are discharged to paediatric wards, and two­ thirds need to be transferred to our regional Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Bristol.

We maintain an excellent working and professional relationship with Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to maintain the high standards of care our paediatric patients deserve and receive.

If you have any queries about our paediatric service you can speak to Dr Julian Berry, the lead consultant for paediatric critical care.

The Critical Care Outreach Service

The critical care outreach service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides skilled nursing care and assessment to our sickest and most vulnerable patients. The service is delivered by experienced critical care trained nurses, and led by an advanced nurse practitioner.

We routinely review patients on other Royal Cornwall wards that have been discharged from ICU, as well as those who are at risk of deterioration, either following direct request from ward staff, or through an automated alerting process through eObs.

The outreach service also plays a valuable role in educating ward staff in the early recognition and management of deteriorating patients. Members of the outreach service have skills in transfer medicine, and are frequently involved in the inter and intra-hospital transfer of critically ill patients.

Clinical Research

The Critical Care Unit actively participates in clinical research as we believe this is an important aspect of critical care medicine. It helps us improve the way we treat and care for patients, enables us to use new treatments or equipment that might turn out to be of great benefit to patients and make a big difference to the chances of survival of critically ill patients in the future. You can find out more about research at Royal Cornwall Hospitals here.

Further sources of information for Critical Care patients

ICU Steps

The Intensive Care Unit Support Teams for ex-patients (ICUsteps) was founded in 2005 by ex­patients, their relatives and ICU staff to support patients and their families through the long road to recovery from critical illness.
Visit ICU Steps

Intensive Care Foundation

ICF aims to provide information for patients and relatives that is helpful, concise and relevant to each step of a patient’s treatment and recovery from critical illness.
Visit the Intensive Care Foundation website

Health Talk Online

Find information on a range of illnesses and other health­-related issues from seeing and hearing people’s real life experiences. Thousands of people have shared their experiences on film to help others understand what it’s really like to have critical illness.
Visit Health Talk Online

Useful leaflets

More information about Critical Care

Your critical care team and what they do