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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Critical Care Department (ICU & HDU)

The Critical Care Department at Arrowe Park Hospital cares for some of the hospitals most seriously ill patients. The department is divided into 2 areas:

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU), also known as Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), is a unit within the hospital that looks after patients whose conditions are life-threatening and need constant, close monitoring and organ support from specialist equipment and medications. Assisting in maintaining the normal function of struggling body systems, this may be in the form of a ventilator to support breathing or dialysis to support the kidneys.

People admitted to ITU require the support of more than one organ and patients are generally cared for on a 1 nurse to 1 patient ratio.

High Dependency Unit (HDU)

As a patients’ condition improves and they need less intensive care but may still require close observation, they can be transferred to the HDU. Patients will then move to a general ward elsewhere in the hospital or be discharged home or to an alternative discharge destination.

Some patients who attend for elective surgery or procedures may have a pre-planned HDU admission if they have pre-existing medical conditions or are undergoing a complicated surgery for example, that may require closer observation initially.

The ratio for HDU is generally 1 nurse to 2 patients.

Both ICU and HDU are run by a team of Consultant Intensivists and supported by a team of doctors with a background of anesthesiology, intensive care and medicine. A large team of highly trained nurses are dedicated to delivering safe, high quality care to our patients, along with other multi-disciplinary members who can provide specific support and therapies for individual patients;

Patients are at risk of developing chest infections if their lungs are not functioning well enough to prevent a buildup of secretions. Our specialist respiratory physiotherapists use a variety of techniques to assist with the removal of these secretions.

Rehabilitation physiotherapists begin working with patients as early as possible by assisting to exercise their limbs, sit out of bed, walk and regain functional independence.

A Dietitian ensures each individual patient receives the right type of nutrition and that the right amount of calories and nutrients are provided.

A speech and language therapist may also visit to assess a patients swallowing function or assist with communication problems in conscious patients.

A dedicated Pharmacist forms an essential part of the team ensuring the most appropriate drugs are administered to each patient in the correct dosage for each specific condition.

Critical Care Outreach

The Critical Care Outreach Team (CCOT) comprises of senior nurses with a background in critical care and is led by a Critical Care Consultant. The team, which was established in 2004, provides a 7 day service (07.45-20.15) service and support ward staff with the detection and management of critically ill patients outside of the Critical Care Unit. By recognizing and treating patients who are very sick earlier in their illness, this may reduce the numbers of patients who subsequently may need critical care. If an admission to the critical care unit is required, the team will work collaboratively to facilitate this admission in a timely manner. We also recognise that the transition between a Critical Care setting back to a ward can be stressful and so the team can support both patients and their relatives to help make this transition as smooth as possible.

We are heavily involved in providing education on the recognition and management of sepsis and the deteriorating adult patient across the Trust. In addition to this, the CCOT participate in research and audit processes that relate to the deteriorating adult patient.

Critical Care Follow- up Team

When you have been critically ill, it can take time to get back to your usual self. This team is available to support you during your recovery. If your Critical Care stay lasted for 4 days or more, a follow- up nurse may visit you on the ward to discuss any psychological effects that you may have experienced and you will be sent an appointment after discharge to offer a follow-up phone call. You can also contact them on 0151 604 7783.  Whilst COVID-19 restrictions apply, we cannot offer you a re-visit to the unit but please see our link for a virtual tour on related links section to left of this page.

You can also view information from ICUsteps (intensive care patient support charity) and Your COVID-19 recovery (NHS website) to left of this page.

Practice Educators

The Critical Care practice educators are responsible for the provision of training and management of education for all nursing staff including student nurses who work within Critical Care as part of their placement.

Research Nurses

We are a research active department and are constantly collecting data to support various research trials. You (or your relatives on your behalf) may be approached about involvement in current trials and consent obtained if required. 

Organ Donation

The Critical Care department supports organ and tissue donation and has specialist staff that support patients and families’ decision making when there is an option to donate.

Visiting Times

Please note that due to current restrictions there is no official visiting for patients within the hospital but each case is considered on an individual basis so please contact us for details

Department Location

Critical Care is on the ground floor at the back of the hospital. From the main entrance, walk past the lifts and turn left. There are separate entrances to ICU and HDU; they are both signposted from here.

  • Direct dial number: ICU - 0151 604 7401 / HDU - 0151 604 7356        

Team Leaders

  • Clinical Service Lead: Dr Prashast
  • Manager: Christine Jones
  • Lead Nurse: Nadine Weeks