A revolution in critical care
Saving lives is why ICUs exist and yet for many patients their experience can leave a legacy
that haunts them for years.
Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are amazing places. They are for healing the sickest of the sick
where it is a matter of life and death… every minute, of every day.
Around 90% of people who are admitted into ICUs survive, which is a remarkable achievement
and testament to the committed medical teams who fight to keep them alive.
The ICU space itself though, can feel like being in the middle of a war zone:
alarms, bright artificial lights, beeping machines, high anxiety and distressed relatives.
It’s hardly an optimal healing environment.
The impact of this to ICU patients over a week or more, of stress, sleep deprivation, strange surroundings –
can lead to delirium and in many cases ongoing mental health concerns such as post-traumatic stress.
The Critical Care Research Group are looking to improve the design of the ICU environment
in a world first.
The team at The Prince Charles Hospital are looking to create an ICU that concentrates on the well-being of the patient, not just their physical conditions but their mental health state. The patient’s experience will be at the centre of an innovative bed space design or ‘Cocoon’ that fuses technology and personalised medicine, with best practice architectural and engineering solutions.
This collaborative project brings together the expertise of architects, builders, scientists, and experience-based knowledge of clinicians, patients and their families to co-design an ICU space that optimises the process and outcomes of care.
Through the clever use of adjustable technology like circadian lighting that perfectly mimics natural sunlight; sound masking which uses bed sensors to change background noise levels; flexible architectural design to maximise patient privacy; and other new design features; this approach to critical care will provide a way for the emotional and psychological wellbeing of the ICU patient to come first,
so that people not only survive but thrive.
You can champion this important project so that the 130,000 Australians who will be admitted to ICUs every year can experience the future of critical care.
An optimal ICU design can improve patient experience and outcomes, decrease length of stay, decrease preventable complications and reduce health care costs; especially considering that ICU patients aged over 60 have an 80% change of getting delirium–and are at risk of extended stays and even misdiagnosis as a result of their condition. That could be costing the hospitals somewhere between $90M and $200M pa, notwithstanding the ongoing impact on the patients who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can have lifelong impacts.
Help shape the future of critical care:
All donations $2 and over are tax deductible.