Medical Family Therapy in Intensive Care

  • Angela Lamson
  • Jessica Goodman
Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)


The history of intensive care units and critical care dates back to the early to mid-1900s. Critical care is commonly described as a form of medical care for patients who have an acute, life-threatening, or medically complex condition or illness which requires a close, constant watch by specialized providers (Fulbrook, 2010; Lakanmaa, Suominenb, Perttila, Puukkae, & Leino-Kilpi, 2012). Most critical care services take place in an environment known as an intensive care unit (ICU).


Glossary of Important Terms in Intensive Care1

Arterial catheterization

A thin, hollow tube that is placed into an artery (large blood vessel) in the wrist, groin, or other location to measure blood pressure. This is often called an “art line” in the intensive care unit (ICU ).

Bubble CPAP

Devices that apply pressure to the neonatal respiratory system via nasal prongs placed into the nostrils, forming a tight seal to minimize leak.

Central venous catheter (central line)

A long, soft, thin hollow tube that is placed into a largevein. Also known as a central line or CVC.

Chest tube thoracostomy

Chest tubes are inserted between ribs into one’s chest in order to drain blood, fluid, or air and allow full expansion of the lungs. The tube may be connected to a suction machine to help with drainage.

High-frequency oscillation

A type of high frequency ventilation characterized by the use of active expiration.

Intensive care unit-acquired weakness

Clinically detected weakness in critically ill patients when there is no other explanation for the weakness other than critical illness.


The introduction of a tube into a hollow organ (such as the trachea).

Mechanical ventilation

The technique through which gas is moved toward and from the lungs through an external device connected directly to the patient.

Neuromuscular blockers

A group of drugs that prevent motor nerve endings from exciting skeletal muscle. They may be used during surgery to produce paralysis and facilitate manipulation of muscles.


This procedure involves surgically constructing a hole that goes through the front of the neck into the trachea or windpipe. A breathing tube is placed through the hole and directly into the windpipe to facilitate breathing .


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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