Can you explain the difference between a progressive care unit and an intensive care unit?
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Explanation Needed,
Intensive care units are typically for the most acutely ill patients, those who are unstable, in critical condition and needing very intensive nursing care and surveillance. In most ICUs, the nurse-to-patient ratio is 1-to-1 or 1-to-2 maximum.
The term “progressive care unit” (also called step-down unit, intermediate care unit, transitional care unit, or telemetry unit) may be used in varying ways in different facilities. But, often it is an intermediary step between ICU and a med/surg floor. These patients still need a high level of skilled nursing care and surveillance (although less so than in an ICU) but are more stable. The nurse-to-patient ratio would be higher than in an ICU, but lower than a med/surg unit anywhere from 1-to-3 to 1-to-5. Some PCUs provide general care, while others are more focused, such as a cardiac care PCU.
When considering a position on either type of unit, or any unit for that matter, always ask for a tour of the care unit and what the usual nurse-to-patient ratio is.
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