A study estimates that the Indian healthcare industry is taking baby steps to ensure accessibility and affordability of care to every citizen, critical care is still an evolving space. Critical care, also known as intensive care units (ICU) refers to a specialized department in a hospital that harbors specialist doctors, equipment, and infrastructure for patients who are suffering from or are prone to have life-threatening conditions.

India has around ten hospital beds per 10,000 people while the global average is 30 beds per 10,000 people. Additionally, while there is expected to be one ICU bed per 10 hospital beds, Indian numbers do not stack up to being even close to the norm.

Essential Services Of Care

The shortage of ICU beds combined with an insufficient number of trained professionals and the financial challenges to set up more critical care centers are all major roadblocks to the development of effective essential services of care across the country.

Optimum utilization of existing facilities

Critical care has been exponentially growing for past few years in India with the overall advancement in global critical care research, specialized training available for professionals in critical care, availability of latest and state of the art infrastructure. 

Due to the expertise required to handle complex and mandatory labs and diagnostics along with expensive equipment, critical care is synonymous with costly care, and therefore there is a widespread lack of quality critical care. The only solution for this is to encourage optimum utilization of our existing essential facilities of care.

Most ICU admissions in India are decided by criteria such as the need for continuous medical monitoring or being attached to a life support system. 

Steps to undertake effective utilization of ICUs

Additionally, ICU bed allocation should be prioritized regarding the severity of the condition. Medical personnel should work in conjunction to determine the optimal duration of ICU stay for patients to ensure there is a balance between medical stability and avoiding the risk of hospital-acquired infections.

Transition care is a solution

However, this may not be desirable for patients recovering from critical illnesses since it will be too early for them to move into a non-monitored environment. Transition care will be the perfect fit for such patients to ensure a holistic approach to recovery from post ICU status.

Most major medical/surgical illness that require ICU admission are sudden, unanticipated and need a critical care team and infrastructure to manage the life-threatening conditions. After critical care has been undertaken, patients should be shifted to the next level of care settings, such as inpatient rehabilitation facilities.

Empowered recovery

To recover completely, one might need additional medical services such as skilled nursing care to manage tracheostomy care, feeding tube care, catheter care amongst others. 

An ideal transition care facility is the perfect place where holistic care is provided by experienced multi-disciplinary rehab care team in a state of the art facility.  The provision of such services will ensure an early, effective and empowered recovery and help patients go back to their normal lives as early as possible.