Taking Patient Care to a Higher Level: Role of a Critical Care Specialist
Posted On: July 27, 2023
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, mankind has fully understood that every breath is precious. We all stood in utter shock when we witnessed how a virus can paralyse the world with its lethality. When we saw that not just old and vulnerable but also young and active people were struck down by the virus, we realized the significance of critical care hospital that work round the clock to save severely ill patients.
When any sort of emergency strikes, be it a sudden cardiac arrest, organ failure, critically ill new-born, neurological trauma in case of vehicle accidents or sport-related injury, or any other life-threatening condition, patients require care and observation that cannot be offered in a normal ward. To take specialized care of such critically ill patients, hospitals hire a critical care specialist who is also called an intensivist or a medical doctor specialised in taking care of the patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
Considering the graveness of the situation, critical care hospitals in India are in need of a full time specialists. The National Medical Commission (NMC) mandates the establishment of critical care medicine department in all medical colleges and healthcare institution to facilitate the timely care and intervention in emergency cases.
Critical care specialist doctor act as a single point of contact between team of doctors, patient and patient’s family members. Along with accurate diagnosis and machine monitoring, an intensivist should have a high level of mental alertness and quick response attitude.
Let’s look further into the kind of qualities that a critical care specialist must have to deal with the urgency of the situation both with passion and compassion:
1. Specialised Education & Training:
Rather than focusing on just one kind of specialty like cardiology or gastroenterology, critical care specialist needs to have a comprehensive approach in treating patients in ICU. They are not just responsible for taking the exceptional care of extremely sick patients but also for the smooth functioning of the entire unit. Hence, such a role requires specialised skills and competencies.
Considering the situation, the Medical Council of India has designed a course to develop doctors specialised in intensive care. Also, Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM) offers courses such as IDCCM and IFCCM to extensively train people for critical care which is now considered a super-speciality.
2. Well-versed in Technological Procedures & Machine Monitoring:
Critical Care Hospital in India appoints a well-qualified and trained intensivist who can accurately investigate, diagnose and treat acute illness. To provide continuous and quality health care support to patients admitted to ICUs, critical care doctors should be competent and proficient in various technological procedures and techniques like inotropes and vasopressors, invasive monitoring techniques, mechanical ventilation, endotracheal intubation, renal support, etc.
For better clinical outcome and patient care, an intensivist must stay updated with the new technological advances in the field that enables him to provide unparalleled care to critically ill patients.
3. Leader of a Multidisciplinary Team:
In order to provide comprehensive clinical care to the patients, a critical care specialist in India heads the team of a critical care unit that includes critical care nurses, clinical pharmacologists, registered dieticians, respiratory therapists and occupational therapists.
Together, this team works to provide effective healthcare support and ensures that there are no lapses in the treatment provided.
4. Excellent Communication & Problem-Solving Skills:
Along with adequate knowledge, critical care specialist doctors must have the necessary skills to tackle emergencies and challenging situations wherein a patient’s life is at risk. For this reason, an intensivist must stay vigilant of the patient’s condition all the time and in case of any complications, he must quickly provide resolutions to ensure that the patient is out of risk and on the path of recovery.
5. Empathetic Approach Towards Patient Care:
Of course, it is beyond argument that a specialist working in the ICU or trauma centre should be well-versed in technology and have expertise in critical care clinical management. Apart from this, an intensivist is an important link between the patient and his family. In critical times, it is not just the patient who needs emotional support but also his family who is constantly worried and concerned about their kin’s health.
Dr. Amit Prajapti, Critical Care Specialist, Shalby Hospitals, SG, Ahmedabad, added, “Every critical care specialist and intensivist should have comprehensive knowledge of medicine. So, he or she can treat all critically ill patients well. Intervention of an intensivist helps in decreasing mortality and morbidity of patients.”
In the times when life has become highly unpredictable, an intensivist has a vital role to play in the healthcare sector. While skills to deal with emergency situations is a must-have, at the same time, a critical care specialist must learn, adapt and evolve with the situation to provide the best medical care to the patient.
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