If you, a friend or family member have ever experienced an overnight stay at Torrance Memorial, you’ve probably heard the acronyms ICU, PCU and TCU discussed among the medical staff and wondered what they were referring to. Each of these units plays a unique and integral role in a patient’s journey toward their return home from the medical center, depending on the severity of their condition.
Intensive Care Unit
The hospital provides three specialty Intensive Care Units (ICU), eight-bed Burn Intensive Care Unit (BICU), 22-bed Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU2) and eight-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit ( ICU7). ICU provides intensive care and monitoring services to critically ill patients. The critical care units are a concentration of highly qualified health care professionals, who utilize specialized equipment to provide evidence-based care through intensive patient care management.
ICU patients usually arrive from the Emergency Department, Operating Room, Cath Lab, or are transferred from Medical Surgical and Progressive Care Units.
The unit is configured with private rooms and patients are connected to a wireless monitor. The staff conducts hourly visits to ensure that you are receiving excellent care. The staff will not wake you up if you are sleeping unless it is necessary. The unit manager will make an effort to make contact with you during your stay.
The multidisciplinary team for the ICU includes physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurses, nurse aids, pharmacists, case managers, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, radiology and cardiology technicians. You may have a combination of members on this team involved with your care.
Patients may go directly home from the ICU. However they are more commonly transferred to the Progressive Care Unit (PCU), Medical Surgical Unit, a Skilled Nursing Facility, Rehabilitation Unit or the Transitional Care Unit (TCU).
Progressive Care Unit
The Progressive Care Unit or PCU is a telemetry (vital signs) monitored unit that provides care for adult patients requiring continuous cardiac monitoring. Patients arrive from the Emergency Department, Cath Lab, Operating Room or are transferred from ICU or Medical Surgical Units. Transitioning from the ICU to PCU means you are getting better and no longer require critical care.
The unit is configured with semi-private and private rooms. You will be connected to a wireless monitor that a certified tech will be monitoring 24-hours a day. The staff will visit you hourly to ensure that you receive excellent care.
The multidisciplinary team is similar in structure to that of the ICU. Patients may go directly home from the PCU, transfer to the Medical Surgical Unit, a skilled nursing facility, Rehabilitation Unit or the Transitional Care Unit (TCU).
Transitional Care Unit
The Transitional Care Unit or TCU is a skilled nursing facility that assists patients as they transition from a stay in the hospital to home or another level of care. The goal of the TCU is to optimize the patient’s quality of life and to help the patient transition out of the hospital.
The TCU is configured differently than the main hospital. For example, there is a gym and a separate dining room. There are also group and individual activities offered to meet the patient’s needs to socialize with others and their families. TCU staff encourages patients to gain as much independence as possible. Patients dress in their own clothes and eat in the dining room. These steps are an important part of the rehabilitation process.
The TCU is a short-term, post-acute care unit. Patients may go directly home from TCU or transition again to another level of care for continuing support, such as an acute rehabilitation unit, a lower level skilled unit, a custodial care situation or hospice care. The team assesses each patient and sets goals upon a patient’s arrival.
The team in the TCU consists of many professionals: nurses, therapists, social workers, activities specialists, nurse assistants, nutrition specialists and others who will work with patients to devise a plan while in the TCU and for the next step in their continuing care. Each week the TCU team holds meetings to discuss each patient’s progress and determines the plan for the patient’s return home or next phase of care.
The TCU team meets with patients and their physicians routinely either as a group for a family conference or individually to keep patients and caregivers up to date on the patient’s progress and goals for each day or week of their stay.
As patients transition from an acute hospital unit to the TCU, the level of medical and nursing care can be managed at a skilled-nursing and skilled-rehabilitation facility.