Intensive and Critical Care
Intensive and critical care is designed to help people recover from life-threatening injuries or illnesses. It’s a high level of care that includes around-the-clock monitoring inside an intensive care unit or similar hospital environment. This type of care is delivered by a team of medical professionals. Family members of patients in intensive care are an important part of a patient’s care team.
To help people recover, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has numerous intensive and critical care units and facilities located throughout the region.
If you or a loved one has a serious illness or a complicated surgery, you likely will receive care in one of our intensive care units.
In the Lehigh Valley, a medical-surgical intensive care unit (MICU/SICU) is located inside the Kasych Family Pavilion at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township, and an intensive care unit (ICU) is located inside LVH–Muhlenberg in Bethlehem. Both units include private patient rooms for a quieter, peaceful environment.
In Luzerne County, intensive care is delivered inside the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at LVH–Hazleton. It’s a 12-bed unit on the hospital’s third floor.
Both locations are staffed by nurses who are specially educated and experienced in intensive care, and both promote a family-centered approach to care.
Special visiting hours and rules apply to the LVH–Hazleton ICU to allow for frequent nursing care, doctor visits and the comfort and privacy of patients. Visiting hours are 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., for 30 minutes. Please limit visitors to adult, immediate family members only.
In addition to an ICU, LVH–Hazleton, offers a 21-bed step-down unit adjacent to the ICU. It’s designed for patients who no longer require the level of care provided in an ICU but require closer monitoring before being moved to a standard hospital room.
Telemedicine – the use of technology, video conferencing and remote monitoring to connect doctors and patients – has lifesaving benefits. People with the most serious injuries or illnesses receive care in LVHN’s ICUs. Filled with state-of-the-art equipment, our ICUs are staffed by critical care nurses and specially educated physicians called intensivists.
Our ICUs patients also are monitored using telemedicine from a high-tech, off-site location, where additional critical care intensivists and nurses monitor ICU patients throughout the night, ensuring the highest level of care around the clock. Our advanced ICU (AICU) employs high-resolution audio/visual systems that allow our intensivists to see the patient and talk with other doctors, nurses and families in the patient's room. Each evening, one tele-intensivist and three critical care nursing colleagues monitor more than 130 patients from the AICU and respond whenever intervention is necessary, not waiting until a crisis has been discovered.
A research study conducted by an LVHN team shows this use of telemedicine lowers death in critically ill patients by nearly 30 percent and reduces the use of mechanical ventilation. The study results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. LVHN has one of the industry’s most advanced electronic charting systems, which automatically captures and transmits data from bedside monitors and equipment to the AICU, miles away. Customizable “events” inform our intensivists about serious changes in the patient’s condition so they can act immediately to address the problem. The electronic charting system also eliminates much of the bedside paperwork, freeing caregivers to spend more time with patients.
Tele-intensivists do not replace bedside care, because we continue to have the same number of physicians and critical care nurses at the bedside. Instead, it provides an added and higher layer of care to help detect problems earlier and provide faster treatment. This, in turn, reduces complications, shortens hospital stays and saves lives.
Telehealth services also are available to patients at LVH–Hazleton. Consultations with network specialists in the Lehigh Valley can be accomplished through videoconferencing.
Traumatic injuries can result from incidents such as car accidents and falls. If this kind of injury happens to you or a loved one, you may receive expert care close to home in our trauma-neuro intensive care unit (TNICU) at LVH–Cedar Crest. First, you may be treated in our Level I Trauma Center at LVH–Cedar Crest, which has 24-hour neurosurgery (also known as neurological surgery) coverage, staffed by a team of specially educated caregivers to provide rapid response to even the most severe cases of traumatic brain injury.
You or your loved one will be treated by a team of general surgeons, trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons (also known as neurological surgeons), neuro-intensivists and intensivists (physicians who specialize in the care and treatment of critically ill and injured patients). They focus treatment on maximizing survival and future quality of life, and they use state-of-the-art technology to aggressively monitor and treat neurological conditions.
Your loved one’s caregivers will visit you each day to discuss his conditions and progress. This provides an opportunity for you to ask questions or express concerns. Your family can visit you anytime. Please talk to a nurse about any specific guidelines.
In November 2015, LVH–Hazleton was accredited as a Level IV trauma center, which means its health care professionals provide initial care and stabilize patients while doctors quickly assess the nature of injuries and determine how they should be treated. The center has a direct relationship with the Level I trauma center at LVH–Cedar Crest. Those services are available via MedEvac medical transport in 17 minutes by air and 40 minutes by ground if medically necessary.
Thanks to the care provided in the neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU) at LVH–Cedar Crest, patients with severe neurological conditions have a good chance of surviving after suffering severe strokes or traumatic brain injuries. We have experience caring for patients with brain tumors, neurodegenerative diseases and spine injuries, as well as patients recovering from spine surgeries and kidney and pancreas transplants.
For your loved one, our NSICU team focuses on saving as much of his or her brain function as possible. Here, you can feel confident that your loved one is in the hands of highly qualified and experienced staff with the best state-of-the art technology and equipment available.
Your loved one will be cared for in one of 14 private rooms. Our team of physicians and nurses has extensive education and experience in neurology and critical care. Physicians and nurses are assisted by specialists including neurosurgeons, epileptologists (neurosurgeons who specialize in epilepsy) and surgical neuroradiologists. They, along with other members of your care team (dietitians, physical therapists and case managers) will visit you each day to discuss your loved one’s conditions and progress. This provides an opportunity for you or your loved ones to ask questions or express concerns.
You can visit your loved one anytime. We understand the stress patients and their families experience when someone has a critical illness. You and your family are viewed as a vital member of your loved one’s care team.
The care patients receive for serious heart conditions is one reason LVHN is recognized as a national leader for heart care. This high-level care is part of our Heart and Vascular Center. We provide inpatient intensive heart care at LVH–Cedar Crest and LVH–Muhlenberg. All rooms are private and designed for patients who have had a heart procedure like angioplasty, have had heart surgery like bypass surgery or suffer from a serious heart condition.
Our team of doctors includes specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of blocked arteries, congestive heart failure, an irregular heartbeat and valve disease. Our team of nurses has completed a six-month critical care course to learn the latest technology and techniques to care for you.
Our entire care team, including doctors, nurses, case managers, dietitians, respiratory, occupational and physical therapists, and others, visit you each day to review your condition and treatments as a group. At this time, they are available to answer your questions, as well as those of your loved ones. Also know that your family can visit you anytime – but please talk with a nurse about any specific guidelines.
We are one of only a few hospitals nationwide using body-cooling technology called induced hypothermia. It is used when a serious heart attack stops the heart from sending oxygen to the brain. It prevents brain damage by lowering the body’s core temperature to 91 degrees, slowing metabolism and preventing dangerous swelling.
These advanced care services also are available to patients of LVH–Hazleton via MedEvac medical transport (17 minutes by air, 40 minutes by ground) if medically necessary. LVH–Hazleton also houses a 33-bed telemetry unit on the hospital’s third floor. It’s designed for patients who require constant heart monitoring.
Your child may need care in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) if he or she has complex medical conditions or has suffered a trauma or burns. It is on the only unit of its kind in the region and is part of Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital in Salisbury Township. The PICU provides pediatric intensive care close to home.
Full-time pediatricians who specialize in the care of children in the hospital (called hospitalists) and critical care physicians (called intensivists) care for children 24/7 in the PICU. They collaborate with specialists including pediatric surgeons, trauma surgeons, pediatric hematologist oncologists and pediatric cardiologists and work with PICU nurses who are specially educated in critical care. Our physicians are available to answer questions any time of day or consult with your child’s regular doctor.
We care for children with:
- Life-threatening illnesses such as severe infections, breathing problems, ingestions and seizures
- Severe injuries that may be first cared for in our Level I Trauma Center or Regional Burn Center
- Complex medical problems, including those dependent on ventilators and other technical devices
- Children in hospice care who receive their primary care at home and who occasionally require hospital care to relieve pain or adjust complex medical care
- Acute illnesses in other hospitals that need a higher level of resources; we respond to urgent requests for help in managing emergency situations from all hospitals in the region.
Our staff understands the unique medical and personal needs of severely ill and injured children, from very small infants to teenagers. We include parents and family as part of the care team, provide overnight rooms for families, and offer a child-life program and referrals to community support programs.
Your child’s care team visits you each day to discuss your child’s conditions and progress. This provides an opportunity for you to ask questions or express concerns. A child-life specialist, educated in psychology, offers your child emotional support. The child-life specialist uses various playful techniques to help your child feel comfortable and relax while receiving treatments, in addition to providing education to you and your loved ones.
These advanced care services for children also are available to patients at LVH–Hazleton via MedEvac medical transport (17 minutes by air, 40 minutes by ground) if medically necessary.
Inside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Salisbury Township, colleagues care for babies born prematurely or with serious illnesses as part of Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital. We are the area's highest-level NICU.
Your baby will be cared for by a special care team that includes eight full-time board-certified neonatologists (doctors who specialize in the care of sick newborns) and six certified neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP). One neonatologist and one NNP remain in the NICU at all times to immediately address your baby’s needs and respond to your concerns. Your baby’s health care team also includes a respiratory therapist, nutritionist, pediatric pharmacist, physical therapist, feeding specialist, social worker and pediatric specialists such as pediatric surgeons, pediatric cardiologists and pediatric neurologists.
Your baby’s NICU team provides lifesaving technologies and uses evidence-based treatments. We use the most advanced neonatal respirators to help babies breathe when they are too small or too sick to breathe on their own. The most up-to-date developmental methods are used to minimize stress, provide comfort and promote healing so your baby can concentrate all of his or her energy on growing with a minimal amount of pain and stress.
Our NICU also works closely with maternal fetal medicine specialists to provide care when needed for babies born after a high-risk pregnancy.
Your baby's care team also includes you. The NICU embraces the family-centered care philosophy, which means you as the parent are an integral part of your baby’s health care team. While in the NICU, babies do better when parents and other family members are involved in their care.
Family involvement is encouraged 24/7. Parents are not considered “visitors.” NICU staff members are sensitive to your needs and are committed to serving your entire family. NICU staff members receive great satisfaction hearing parents refer to them as “part of the family.” After your baby's discharge, our NICU team will follow up with you to see how you are doing. We want you to feel confident about your care, and we want to hear your concerns.
The NICU team is involved in advanced clinical research and conducts an outpatient NICU follow-up program to improve our care. The team also is involved in quality improvement projects to increase safety and decrease the risks associated with premature or sick newborns.
These advanced care services also are available to patients of LVH–Hazleton via MedEvac medical transport (17 minutes by air, 40 minutes by ground) if medically necessary.
- Technology – Caregivers use a specialized program to track your condition. This technology provides second-to-second data on everything from breathing and heart rates to laboratory results.
- Around-the-clock care – Specially educated physicians (called intensivists), who work closely with critical care nurses, are at your bedside – even at night – to monitor your condition. Throughout the night, a tele-intensivist in a high-tech, off-site control room uses high-resolution video, audio and electronic charting to monitor patients. This provides an extra set of eyes to help detect problems sooner and provide faster treatment.
- Magnet™ nurses – Your nurses in the Lehigh Valley area stand out among the best in the nation. They are Magnet nurses, as designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center – the highest honor an organization can receive for quality nursing care. This means your care is in the hands of nurses who earn certifications in critical care, seek opportunities to discover better ways to care for patients and more.
- Expertise – Members of the care team include hospitalists and critical care physicians (called intensivists) who monitor patients 24/7. For patients who are children, these hospitalists and intensivists are pediatricians who specialize in the care of children in the hospital. These caregivers are available to answer questions any time of day or to consult with your or your loved one's regular doctor.
- Family-centered care – You and other loved ones are considered members of the care team. You can be with your loved one at any hour of the day and may use a family overnight room. You also have access to community support programs for children and families coping with illnesses.
All services featured in our Lehigh Valley area hospitals also are available to patients of LVH–Hazleton via MedEvac medical transport (17 minutes by air, 40 minutes by ground) if medically necessary.