UTMB's neurocritical care program provides quality intensive care for patients with critical neurologic illness, in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and a patient-centered model. Opened in November 2013, UTMB's Neuroscience Critical Care Unit (NCCU) in John Sealy Hospital is one of only four neuro-ICUs in the greater Houston area that is equipped to treat critically ill patients with conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
The NCCU's multidisciplinary team provides 24-hour care
and consists of neurosurgeons, critical care neurologists, stroke
neurologists, neurointerventionists, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists,
pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers and case managers to
provide patients the best chance for optimal outcomes after sustaining
neurological insult. Care provided is appraised based on the measures to improve the patient outcome and satisfaction.
The conditions treated by the neurocritical care team
include, but are not limited to brain tumors, infections of the spinal
cord (including meningitis, encephalitis and abscesses), neuromuscular
disorders, seizures and epilepsy, spinal cord injuries, stroke and
neurovascular conditions, such as hemorrhages and aneurysms, and
traumatic brain injuries.
Patients with acute neurological injuries benefit from UTMB's Level I Trauma Center
- one of only three in the region and one of the largest and most
technically sophisticated emergency care facilities in the world.
Designated a Level I Trauma Center, UTMB serves as the lead trauma
facility for a nine-county region in Southeast Texas.
UTMB’s Galveston Campus stroke program has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. In addition, UTMB’s Galveston Campus was awarded the Comprehensive Stroke Center certification. UTMB provides round-the-clock care to patients needing neuroendovascular intervention for conditions such as an ischemic stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Specially Trained Care Team
Because many neurocritical care patients are comatose or paralyzed
and/or have potentially suffered injuries in other parts of their
bodies as well, the NCCU team at UTMB consists of specially trained
physicians (including board-certified neurointerventionists) and nurses with ready access to the latest technical equipment to help them care for patients.
The NCCU team’s rigorous training provides them the skills necessary to identify the neurological
problems early, and then to intervene to rectify the neurological conditions that might potentially lead to permanent damage.
Nurses on the unit undergo a special three-month training period in
which they are taught how to care for NCCU patients, including four
hours of training in advanced stroke concepts, NIH stroke score
training, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) training. All NCCU
nurses are encouraged to become certified in Critical Care Nursing
(CCRN), Neuroscience Nursing (CNRN) or Stroke Certified Nurses (SCRN).
The goal of UTMB's NCCU team is to provide the best care to patients and families - care that is patient-centered, with an effective, efficient and timely use of resources. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, the NCCU team helps improve patient outcomes.