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UW Health's Neuroscience Intensive Care Team

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Joshua Medow, MD, the newest addition of the UW Neurosurgery Department, is a dedicated and dynamic neuro intensivist with a focus on critical care and an emphasis on the neurologically ill. Taking a unique approach to patient care, Dr. Medow conducts patient visits with a multidisciplinary team including members from the nutrition, respiratory therapy, discharge planning, pharmacy and nursing departments. Under his leadership, the UW Health Neuroscience Intensive Care team also provides 24/7 on-call critical care coverage.

With a number of patents pending, Dr. Medow focuses his research interests on elevated intracranial pressure and CT imaging. He currently teaches and mentors students from the UW-Madison School of Engineering. This multidisciplinary approach is allowing Dr. Medow to work with students to innovate and improve upon medical devices and to develop process-based approaches that will ultimately lead to better patient care, decreased length of stay and overall decreased medical costs.

Expanding Space to Focus Care

The expanded Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit was created not only to accommodate a present need, but also to prepare for the future.

"We have never had to turn away an appropriate patient who needed our services," says UW Health neurosciences nurse manager Pat Chesmore, RN. "This expansion helps us continue our dedication to that priority."

Located on the fourth floor of University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, in Madison, Wisconsin, the new unit has 16 beds and serves patients receiving care for such neurological issues as brain tumors, cranial or spinal trauma, hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke, movement disorders, complex spinal abnormalities or epilepsy. An increase in the volume of these cases as well as their complexity made the expansion necessary for patients and staff alike.

"This is not just more rooms, it's a better design for patient and family care," says Robert Dempsey, MD, UW Health neurosurgeon and chair of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health department of neurological surgery. "It's a better blend of space, equipment and staff needed to provide quality tertiary care."

The Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit moved into an area previously occupied by pediatric units and clinics that have moved to the American Family Children's Hospital, and the warm, soothing colors and patterns remain to brighten the unit. Patient rooms are laid out in an arc around a central nurses' station, with clear lines of sight from computer terminal to patient rooms.

"That's a great improvement over the previous space," Chesmore says. "We were formerly in a single, long hallway. The openness we have now makes it much easier for us to work together for patient care."
Family Facilities Expanded in the Neuroscience ICU

Facilities for families have expanded as well, with space for a family member to stay overnight in each patient room as well as a new family lounge with a mini-kitchen, shower facilities and private consultation areas.

Hand in hand with comfort is the latest in professional expertise and equipment for neurological post-operative care. The combination of UW Health's nationally-recognized neurosurgeons and neurologists along with the unit's experience and highly qualified nursing staff – each nurse is certified in both critical care and neurosciences nursing – has led to a history of good outcomes and low infection rates. Their expertise is now enhanced by patient rooms equipped for sophisticated monitoring as well as acute interventions.

"Many of these rooms could become a mini-operating room if needed," Dr. Dempsey says.

Additional Neuroscience ICU Space Makes Room for Research Growth

The additional space will not only absorb the growth of current services, but also open opportunities for new clinical activity in cerebral-vascular care, stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. Research and clinical education in neurological critical care will also see growth as physicians and staff members settle in to their new location.

"The new ICU better serves our patients, their families and our staff," says Dr. Dempsey. "It's one more element of our overall dedication to continuously improve neurological care."

For more information about the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, call (608) 264-4671.