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The delivery of intensive care, is an interventional treatment that is appropriate if the patient is likely to survive and benefit from it.

Patients admitted to an intensive care unit anywhere in the Network should expect the same admission criteria and the same level of senior input into the decision to admit.

NWL Admissions Flowchart for Adult Critical Care

NWL Admissions Policy for Adult Critical Care

The Network ICU admission criteria are based on:

  • reasonable likelihood of an acute, potentially reversible clinical condition
  • an underlying level of long-term health and co-morbidity that is likely to allow the patient to survive, and benefit from, critical care for their acute condition
  • explicit, or reasonably assumed, patient consent

This is an outline statement only and you are encouraged to read the full document.

The criteria intentionally do not discriminate according to specific clinical disease categories, or by age or other non-clinical factors.

Consultant intensivist involvement in admission decisions, is an important marker of quality and appropriateness of care, and is one of the Network quality measures.

In adult practice in the UK, the role of an unconscious or incapacitated patient's family, unpaid carers, or independent mental capacity advocate, is to give their view and insight into the patient's best interests and likely willingness to consent. Advance directives and lasting powers of attorney will be duly taken into account.

However, there is no absolute legal right for a patient or family to demand any treatment which is deemed clinically futile in the view of the medical team. If appropriate, a second opinion or ethical review may be requested according to local hospital/Trust policy.