Communications

A good ICU communication network is vital. Within the ICU, it is necessary to have close links between patient bed areas, nursing stations, staff areas, and the reception area. This can be effected by a system of telephones and intercoms. Visual displays of alphanumeric or color codes will not generate noise and can be used for non-emergency communications. An emergency visual and audio call button at the bedside, connected to all areas, will enable immediate help to be summoned. The provision of one or two additional telephones through a different line from the hospital switchboard is recommended. Computer networking between ICU monitors and with other departments (e.g. pathology, radiology, and central admission office) should be implemented. Pagers and mobile voice communicators should be used to track staff outside the ICU. A special code for pagers (e.g. 1111) will enable ICU staff to be summoned immediately in emergencies. Communications between the ICU and other hospital departments may include a pneumatic tube system.

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