Critical Care

Depend on the specialists at Essentia Health for round-the-clock critical care services in an intensive care unit (ICU). Essentia offers critical care services at its hospitals in Duluth and Brainerd, Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota. Our team offers high-quality care and personalized attention in an environment equipped with advanced technology that aids and supports healing.

What Does ICU Mean?

An intensive care unit (ICU) is a department in a health care facility where specially trained professionals treat and constantly monitor patients who have a life-threatening injury or condition.

Who Needs Critical Care?

Intensive care services can help someone who is critically ill recover. You may stay in an ICU if you need post-operative care after a major surgery, or if you need treatment for:

  • Organ failure
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Respiratory failure
  • Sepsis, also called septic shock, a life-threatening blood infection
  • Sudden, severe injury
  • Drug overdose

What's an Intensivist?

Your ICU team is led by an intensivist—a doctor with advanced training in critical care. That means you benefit from the experience and education of a doctor who specializes in treating very ill patients.

Collaborative Care

Trust the intensivists at Essentia to coordinate care with medical specialists—such as cardiologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, and surgeons—to ensure the best possible care. Your team may include:

  • Case manager
  • Dietary and nutrition specialist
  • Nursing assistant
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Social worker

Specialty Intensive Care Units

Depending on your situation and location, you may receive care at an ICU that focuses on treating a certain condition. Benefit from the use of advanced technology and equipment in the hands of multidisciplinary specialists at:

  • Burn Intensive Care Unit - Treats full spectrum of burns with goal of preserving life and reducing complications and scarring
  • Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) – Provides specialized heart and vascular services, including minimally invasive valve and structural heart care options
  • Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) – Treats conditions like pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, organ failure, respiratory failure, and sepsis
  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) – Gives post-operative monitoring and care
  • Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit – Offers neurological care to treat conditions such as stroke
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – Provides care to babies born prematurely or with complications

Support for Families

Count on Essentia’s compassionate staff to give daily updates about a loved one’s condition, answer questions, and provide emotional support and education. Each critical care room includes a family area. Stay by your loved one's side and visit whenever you are able. There are no set visiting hours in the ICU.

ICU Patient Updates

If your family member is getting care at an Essentia facility, you can call the ICU and ask for an update. Choose one person to be the point-of-contact for your family to help streamline communication about your loved one’s condition. If you aren’t a family member, you can ask the patient’s family to add your name to an approved contact list.

Award-Winning Care

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses awarded the Beacon Award for Excellence to the following critical care units:

  • Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth, Minnesota)
  • Essentia Health-Fargo

The award recognizes improved health outcomes and overall patient satisfaction.