What is critical care?
Critical care (also called intensive care) is a medical specialty focused on the care of the very sickest patients in hospital, or those who require specific care that can’t be provided elsewhere in the hospital . Critically ill patients need life support interventions, such as breathing machines, and the specialized care provided in the intensive care unit (ICU, or Pediatric ICU for critically ill children) by a team of professionals including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists, chaplains, and social workers. Some of the conditions treated in the ICU include severe infections like pneumonia and meningitis, heart disease, strokes, trauma, and burns.
Most patients survive their ICU stay. However, sometimes patients in the ICU are so sick that they die despite the care they receive. Sometimes, when patients are really sick, they or their families decide that they would not want to prolong treatment with life support machines or medications. So in addition to life-saving treatment, critical care includes providing quality end-of-life care for patients. Critical care medicine requires both advanced technology and human compassion.
What is the CCCTG?
The Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG) is a group of researchers who work together to design and conduct their own studies to improve the care and outcomes of critically ill adults and children. The mission of the CCCTG is to advance the care of the sickest patients through excellent research.
To fulfill this mission
, we foster and conduct excellent, innovative research, translate that research into practice and policy, provide international leadership in research, and mentor the next generation of leaders in critical care research.
The CCCTG has an over 25 year history
of leading research that has improved the care of critically ill patients around the world, saving and improving lives. Examples of our major contributions include studying blood transfusion; preventing stress ulcers; treating severe lung injuries; and understanding the long-term physical and emotional effects of people who have survived their stay in the ICU.
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Why should we engage patients and families in critical care research?
We are beginning to understand the short and long term impact of critical illness on patients and their families. To design research which can truly improve the lives of patients and families, the CCCTG has recognized the need to engage and develop partnerships with those most affected by critical illness in a meaningful way. Meaningful engagement goes beyond participation in a research study; it means giving a voice to patients and families in how research is done and how research results are used.
The CCCTG has developed a strategy for partnering with patients and families, as outlined in the following table: