What is Critical Care?
A critical illness or injury acutely impairs one or more vital organ systems such that there is a high probability of imminent or life threatening deterioration in the patient’s condition. Critical care involves high complexity decision making to assess, manipulate, and support vital organ system failure and/or to prevent further life threatening deterioration of the patient’s condition. Examples of vital organ system failure include but are not limited to: central nervous system failure, circulatory failure, shock, renal, hepatic, metabolic, and/or respiratory failure.
Although critical care typically requires interpretation of advanced technologies,` critical care may be provided in life threatening situations when these elements are not present. Critical care may be provided on multiple days, even if no changes are made in the treatment rendered to the patient, provided that the patient’s condition continues to require the level of physician attention described above. Providing medical care to a critically ill, injured, or post-operative patient qualifies as a critical care service only if both the illness or injury and the treatment being provided meet the above requirements.
What is Critical Care Consultation?
Critical care is usually, but not always, given in a critical care area, such as the coronary unit, intensive care unit, respiratory care unit or the emergency care facility. Critical care services consist of several comprehensive services that include: cardiac output measurement interpretation, chest x-rays, blood gases, use of computer-stored information, gastric intubation, temporary transcutaneous pacing, ventilation management and vascular access procedures.