Expanded Intensive Care Unit to open at McHenry Hospital
Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital February 21, 2019
More patients will have access to the highest level of nursing care when an expanded intensive care unit opens at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital. Nine new, private ICU rooms will open, expanding the unit to a total of 27 beds. This will help physicians and nurses meet the needs of patients who need highly specialized inpatient care.
To create the new ICU, nine cardiac telemetry beds – which require an intermediate level of nursing care – were converted to critical care beds. Nurses and physicians requested the change to expand the hospital’s ability to care for sicker patients.
“The needs of our patients are changing, and community members want to receive the highest level of care close to home,” said Dr. Irfan Hafiz, chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital. “An expanded ICU will help us provide more patients the close monitoring they need so they can recover and their families will have peace of mind.”
Depending on the level of care patients require, physicians and nurses also may choose to use the new department as a progressive care unit. Progressive care is appropriate for patients who do not need the highest level of care, although they also need more monitoring than is provided on the cardiac telemetry or medical-surgical unit.
“Patients in the intensive care unit receive nursing care at a one-to-one or one-to-two ratio,” said Catie Schmit, chief nursing executive at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital. “There are other patients who need close monitoring after cardiac procedures, surgeries and for specialized respiratory care. The new unit will help us group patients in a way that is most appropriate for their level of care and then staff those beds accordingly.”
The availability of additional ICU beds should also reduce wait times in the hospital’s emergency department. This is because patients who need a critical care inpatient bed must sometimes wait for one to open before they can be admitted.
“Every day we flex to the needs of our patients,” Schmit said. “The expanded ICU will make it easier to ensure patients receive the right level of care from nurses who have the training and experience to address their unique needs.”