We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are Critical Care Protocols?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Critical care protocols provide specific guidelines for handling patients with life-threatening medical conditions. Studies indicate that protocols can increase the chances of a positive outcome when applied correctly. Some individual judgment may be required because each case is different. A multidisciplinary care team can be valuable because members may discuss specifics and how to proceed if they need to deviate from the established standards. Hospitals may have their own critical care protocols, or they can use standard guidelines produced by other facilities and professional organizations.

This documentation covers a wide variety of situations, starting with the standards for admission to a critical care unit and ending with the checklist used to determine when to withdraw care for a patient who will not recover. Critical care protocols can explicitly discuss how practitioners should handle particular medical conditions or incidents like severe accidents. They may provide guidance on how to administer medication and perform certain procedures, like weaning a patient from a ventilator.

Prewritten orders for medication can be included in critical care protocols. These may attach a checklist in plain text for nurses and other care providers to follow, which can reduce the risk of error, especially in the administration of complex or potentially fatal drugs. The steps can include testing for conflicts, double checking the dosage of a dangerous medication, and obtaining informed consent from the patient, if necessary. Checkboxes allow people to record the process to create documentation for the patient’s file.

There are several benefits to using critical care protocols rather than asking care providers to use their judgment in all cases. Having standards ensures that no steps are missed in treatment, and that every patient has access to the same level of care. In addition to improving patient outcomes, this can offer some liability protection by demonstrating that the medical team exercised their professional duty of care in handling the case. Protocols can also be useful in clinical studies where as many factors as possible need to be controlled to achieve useful results.

Some facilities make their critical care protocols available to members of the public. People interested in reading them can do so, and may ask for clarification if they have specific questions. In other cases the documentation is proprietary and may be limited to hospital staff and affiliated medical professionals. Generalized guidelines are also available from organizations that promote excellence in critical care medicine.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.