Global critical illness and critical care

8 September, 2022


The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the global care of our sickest patients - Critical Illness and Critical Care.

A new publication this week proposes definitions of these two concepts, facilitating communication and knowledge dissemination (declaration: I was one of the authors).

Critical Illness is defined as, ‘a state of ill health with vital organ dysfunction, a high risk of imminent death if care is not provided and the potential for reversibility’.

Critical Care is defined as, ‘the identification, monitoring and treatment of patients with critical illness through the initial and sustained support of vital organ functions.’

The definitions maintain a patient-centred rather than setting-dependent focus. Critical care when defined in this way can be provided anywhere, and does not have to be resource intensive - it includes both high-resource care in ICUs and lower resource care in other settings. Indeed, critical care can be provided in general wards, in small health facilities, in the community or in ambulances.

The first-line, lowest complexity and lowest cost care has been defined as Essential Emergency and Critical Care It it was provided to all critically ill patients, much mortality and morbidity could be averted. A Child Health Task Force's Quality of Care and Implementation Science webinar, “Essential Emergency and Critical Care: a neglected area in child health” will be held on Sep 14, 2022 at 08:00 AM Eastern Time USA (3pm East Africa) - open to all - registration link here.



HIFA profile: Tim Baker is a Physician and Researcher in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. He is a member of faculty at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and has appointments at Ifakara Health Institute in Dar es Salaam and Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. Tim’s interest is in global emergency and critical care, focusing on evaluating and improving health services and health systems for the provision of good quality care to critically ill patients in low-resource settings. tim.baker AT