ITU / Critical Care

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We provide ITU services at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Wichester and Eastleigh.

Please click on the links below for information relating to each hospital:

Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital 

Royal Hampshire County Hospital 

General information

What happens when I come in?


Due to limited space, we are unable to keep large amounts of property. You can bring in toiletries, personal photographs and shaving equipment if required.
Communicating with your relative

Patients who require help with breathing from a ventilator are unable to talk. This is because a tube is passed through the vocal cords. Once the tube is removed their voice should return. This can be very frustrating for your relative and you, but with patience and understanding communication is possible. Patients who are sedated or unconscious are assumed to be able to hear, so we feel it is important to talk to them and give them encouragement and support.

Some patients become confused either because of the drugs they have been given, or because of the strange environment. This can be very distressing but will pass with time.

Patients in ICU often ‘lose’ a period of their life due to being unconscious and being unaware. It can be useful for you to keep a diary of events on behalf of your loved one. This can be of use to them at a later stage to “fill in the gaps” and may help in their recovery phase.



Critical care uses machines, which can look frightening when seen for the first time. Alarms on these machines frequently sound but do not necessarily indicate a problem with the patient.

The following are the most common pieces of equipment you may see:

This is a machine, which helps the patient to breathe; also known as a life support machine. A tube in the patient’s windpipe (trachea) is connected to a machine. The tube usually comes out through the mouth but after several days a tracheostomy may be performed and the tube will then pass through a small hole in the neck. Patients are generally sedated to help them tolerate a tube in their mouths and to keep them relaxed. If a tracheostomy is performed they are often more awake and will be able to respond better.

Non-invasive ventilation (BIPAP) or (CPAP)
This is a form of support to breathing that does not need a tube in the patient’s windpipe. A face or nasal mask is worn and added support and oxygen is given via a machine at the bedside. This can be done constantly or intermittently, depending on the patient’s tolerance and response.

This shows different coloured displays that constantly monitor heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, respiratory rate and the amount of oxygen in the blood. It is normal for the numbers on the machine to keep changing.

Central venous lines
Most patients have a thin tube inserted into their neck or upper chest that goes into a large vein. This helps us monitor heart function and administer drugs and fluid.

Arterial line
This is a tube inserted in an artery at the wrist, elbow, groin, or foot to assist with monitoring continuous blood pressure and to allow blood samples to be taken.

Nasogastric or orogastric tube
This thin tube passes from the nose or mouth into the stomach and is used to drain stomach contents or for the administration of nutrition and oral drugs.

Haemofiltration machine
This supports failing kidneys and takes over their role of purifying the blood. The patient’s blood is circulated through the machine and returns via a line in the neck or groin.

Urine drains from the bladder via a catheter into a bag beside the bed.

It is sometimes necessary to remove fluid from other areas such as the chest or abdomen.





updated 13 February 2018

Ward Numbers

Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital

Intensive Care Unit - 01256 313560
High Dependency Unit - 01256 314778 or 01256 313976

Royal Hampshire County Hospital

Intensive Care Unit/High Dependency Unit - 01962 825037
Critical Care Office - 01962 825043

Equality Service Profile - January to March 2013

This report provides a profile of the patients who access this service from an Equality perspective.  If you have any questions regarding this report, please do not hesitate to contact either the services Operational Services Manager or Clinical Services Manager.

Critical Care report

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