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The ICU, or intensive care unit, is the department of the hospital where you can receive specialized care and monitoring from multidisciplinary care teams. You may need to be in the ICU during times of critical illness or after certain surgeries, to ensure you recover fully.

Intensive care services in Virginia

When you or a loved one need intensive care, we are here for you.

Whether you experience traumatic injuries or a life-threatening condition, we offer critical care when it matters most. At HCA Virginia Health System, our intensive care units (ICUs) provide lifesaving treatments and help you recover.

Reasons you may need intensive care

You may receive care in our ICU or progressive care unit (PCU) if you experience the following:

  • Acute and chronic kidney failure
  • Acute asthma attacks
  • Brain bleeds
  • Coma
  • Complex illnesses
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) complications
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Head trauma
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart attack
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Sepsis
  • Severe pneumonia
  • Stroke
  • Surgical procedures
  • Traumatic injuries

Intensive care services we offer

We offer in-hospital specialty ICUs that are designed to accommodate all your medical needs. These units include critical care nursing staff and advanced patient monitoring equipment, which allow us to provide continuous care while you or your loved one is recovering from trauma or an acute illness.

Our approach to patient care

Our intensive care medicine specialists are specially trained to care for you when you're seriously ill or injured. They are also focused on providing family-centered services so you and your loved ones experience attentive care around the clock.

Additionally, as an intermediate transition between intensive care and traditional inpatient care, many of our specialties offer step-down units of care as your condition continues to improve.

Specialty ICUs

Some intensive care units are designed to provide critical care for specific medical conditions or for patients of a certain age. These specialty ICUs generally have specialized technology and medical staff with extra training for the treatment of particular medical issues.

Cardiovascular intensive care (CVICU)

Our CVICUs, also called coronary intensive care units (CICUs), are dedicated to heart patients recovering from heart events, advanced cardiovascular surgeries and cardiac interventions.

Neonatal intensive care (NICU)

Premature and critically ill newborns often need extra attention after birth. For our smallest patients, we offer several NICUs, which are staffed with specially trained teams to help infants in need of intensive care.

Pediatric intensive care

Children's critical care needs differ from those of adults and even from newborns. Our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) offers the right-sized equipment, pediatric-trained clinicians and a child-friendly environment to help young children, adolescents and teens recover from injuries and illnesses.

Surgical intensive care unit (SICU)

A SICU is dedicated to the recovery of adult patients after surgery, such as trauma surgery, organ transplant or emergency surgery.

Advanced ICU technologies

Our intensive care services involve concentrated care and advanced technologies. We offer remote monitoring, continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), certified extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) programs and a robust transitional care program.

ICU patient safety

We are committed to using advanced technology to improve patient safety and outcomes. Our ICUs feature the eICU Wide Area Treatment & Communication Hub (eWATCH). This technology doesn't replace our on-site caregivers but offers our teams access to real-time vital signs, test results and other important information. Our eWATCH system also uses software that tracks vital-sign trends and provides alerts so caregivers can intervene quickly when necessary.

Transitioning out of the ICU

If you are immobilized, we are more than happy to provide extra assistance for you with the help of our progressive mobility program. This program helps gradually reintroduce and restore your mobility. Our goal is to help you return to your optimal level of function. If this includes physical therapy and rehabilitation, we offer those programs as well.

Visiting the ICU

We understand the importance of family support as a part of your recovery. We encourage families to visit you regularly while you're in the ICU. Check with your ICU nursing staff for specific visiting hours and policies, but, in most cases, visitors will be asked to:

  • Announce their arrival to the ICU/PCU by using the phone/intercom system
  • Exchange visitors and patient information in the waiting area, not at the patient’s bedside or in doorways
  • Limit cell phone use, and keep conversations in a quiet tone
  • Limit themselves to two people at the patient’s bedside
  • Provide direct supervision for children and keep infants and toddlers at home
  • Set cellphone ringers to silent or vibrate mode
  • Use hand sanitizer when entering and leaving each room
  • Use the waiting area when they are not visiting in the patient’s room to help limit foot traffic in the hallways, doorways and the unit itself

Visitors will be asked not to:

  • Bring live flowers or plants into the ICU
  • Eat or drink in the ICU
  • Visit the ICU/PCU if they have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, a cold or the flu

PCU exceptions:

  • Live flowers and plants are allowed.
  • Food and drink are allowed.

Primary contact person

To ease the flow of information, we ask that you designate one person as your primary contact person. This person will be the one with whom our critical care nursing staff communicate, providing updates about your condition.

The primary contact person will be given a privacy code to provide along with the your name when calling for updates. Any phone inquiries we receive about your condition will also be referred to the patient’s designated contact person.

Privacy protection

We take your privacy very seriously. We've taken the following measures to ensure the privacy of individuals in the ICU. Our privacy protections include the following:

  • Access to hospital information is limited to people with hospital authorization.
  • All information is electronically encrypted before it's sent over phone lines.
  • Doctors use a secure identification number as an electronic signature when ordering treatments.
  • Information is not released to anyone other than those providing medical care.
  • No temporary or permanent recording is made from any camera or microphone.
  • Patient information is only transferred to and from the eWATCH center over private phone lines.

Overnight visitors to the ICU

We ask your loved ones to remember that our visitor guidelines are designed to provide you with the best setting for your recovery. An important part of that treatment is allowing you the proper time and environment to rest and promote healing. For this reason, visitors are not allowed to stay overnight in ICU or PCU patient rooms.