Health Care Team

During visits to the CSRU you will see different health care professionals caring for your family member. This section explains what these professionals do.

A physician with specialized training in critical care medicine, cardiac anesthesia or cardiac surgery organizes medical care for the patients in CSRU. There is one physician who works during the day and another who works during the night so that there is full physician coverage 24 hours a day. The physician is responsible for the care of the CSRU patients for one week at a time. The physician leads discussion of patient care daily with the CSRU team. He or she communicates and coordinates care with the cardiac surgeon who performed the surgery. Residents and fellows (doctors in training) also work in the CSRU and one or more is present in the CSRU 24 hours a day.

Registered Nurse:
Every nurse in the CSRU is a registered nurse specially trained in critical care. All CSRU nurses also work in the Intensive Care Unit. The ratio of nurse to patient is usually one to one, but sometimes is one to two. There is always a nurse in charge to address any concerns you may have.

Respiratory Therapist:
Registered respiratory therapists (RT) specialize in providing therapeutic interventions to patients who need breathing support. The RT operates and troubleshoots ventilators, oxygen, suction and monitoring equipment used at all bedsides.

The physiotherapist provides chest/lung care with the intent of optimizing lung function through a variety of techniques. They also help patients maintain/regain muscle strength, and get patients up and moving at the earliest opportunity. Physiotherapists screen all patients daily, consult with the CSRU team, and provide treatment upon referral.

The pharmacist works with the CSRU team to ensure the safe and effective use of medications. Medications for each patient are reviewed to ensure the doses are appropriate and there are no drug interactions.

Social Worker:
Social workers provide support and counseling for family members, help organize family meetings with the medical team and provide referrals to community agencies if necessary. Please ask any staff member for assistance if you would like to contact a social worker.

Clinical Nutritionist:
Clinical nutritionists (dietitian) assess patients’ nutritional needs and recommend an appropriate diet. This diet may be eaten or may need to be given through a tube into the stomach/small bowel (enteral nutrition) or through an IV line (parenteral nutrition or TPN).

Medical Radiation Technologist:
Medical radiation technologists (x-ray techs) play a diagnostic role, taking daily x-rays to help monitor the patients’ progress. They also provide the CSRU team with valuable information to aid in excellent care.

Speech Language Pathologist:
Speech language pathologists assess and treat patients’ swallowing. Upon referral they will do a swallow assessment at the bedside or an x-ray procedure called a modified barium swallow to decide best treatments for swallowing problems. Speech language pathologists also help the CSRU staff and families communicate with patients who are having difficulty speaking.

Occupational Therapist:
Occupational therapy focuses on preventing changes in range of motion, often associated with bedrest and decreased activity. This may be accomplished through positioning with splints or other devices.

Support Staff:
Communication clerks are frontline administration support staff responsible for clerical work pertaining to patients' care within the CSRU. They liaise between other areas of service.

Technical service associates (TSA) check equipment and supplies to make sure everything is working well.

Patient service associates (PSA) assist health care professionals with patient care by cleaning, providing supplies and assisting in movement of patients.

Porters transport specimens, equipments and patients within the hospital.