Role of Intensive Care Units in Critical Access Hospitals

Lead researcher:
Project completed:
February 2005
The number of small rural hospitals that have chosen to convert to CAH status has been greater than many people had anticipated, and concern has been voiced by some individuals about whether the provision of services in an intensive care unit (ICU) is appropriate in these institutions. As information regarding ICUs in CAHs is currently extremely limited, the purpose of this study is to inform any policy process that aims to affect the provision of ICU services in CAHs.

The study will describe the types of cases treated and services provided, the nursing intensity of the care, and the alternatives (of lack thereof) available to patients. Information will be gathered through telephone interviews with nursing directors at CAHs with ICUs. The study findings will be presented in a working paper and findings brief.


  • Intensive Care in Critical Access Hospitals
    Journal Article
    North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
    Date: 2007
    Describes the facilities, equipment, and staffing used by Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) for intensive care, the types of patients receiving ICU care, and the perceived impact of closing the ICU on CAH staff and the local community.
  • Intensive Care In Critical Access Hospitals (Working Paper)
    North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
    Date: 03/2005
    This paper describes what officials at critical access hospitals mean when they report that they provide intensive care and the importance of these services to the hospital and the community it serves.