oa Wits Journal of Clinical Medicine - Profile of ICU bed requests at Helen Joseph Hospital - research articles

Volume 2 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2618-0189
  • E-ISSN: 2618-0197



Background: Intensive care unit (ICU) beds are a scarce resource at Helen Joseph Hospital (HJH). A limited number of beds serve a population with a large burden of disease. Medical practitioners request ICU beds for patients they deem in need of ICU management. However, the decision to admit patients to the ICU remains the responsibility of the ICU consultant on call. No formal prognostic scoring system (such as Acute Physiological and Chronic Health Evaluation or Simplified Acute Physiology Score) or admission guidelines were in place when performing this study.

Aim: To compile a profile of all the ICU admission requests at HJH.

Methods: A contextual, prospective, descriptive research design was followed in this study. Data was collected during one winter and one summer month in 2012 using consecutive sampling from ICU consultation forms.

A total of 139 patients were included in the study. The median age was 44 years. The majority of patients (79%) were under the age of 60 years. The overall admission rate was 35.25% and the most common reason for admission was mechanical ventilation. Of the patients refused ICU admission, 41% were assessed as being too ill, 30% were assessed as too well and 29% were refused admission due to a lack of resources. Patients admitted to the ICU had a 77.55% survival rate. The relationship between ICU admission and 30-day improved outcome was statistically significant, with those being admitted to ICU having a better outcome.

Conclusions: Overall a relatively young population is admitted to ICU at HJH. The allocation of beds between the disciplines is fairly equal, both with good survival benefits. The lack of ICU resources is an important limitation to ICU admission. Admission to ICU demonstrated a survival benefit.

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