Following an operation at Hospital for Special Surgery, patients with complex medical needs may be admitted to our four-bed Orthopedic Special Care Unit (OSCU), a New-York-State approved Intensive Care Unit. The OSCU is overseen by a team of anesthesiologists, all of whom have advanced training in managing critical illness. The OSCU team includes doctors, nurses, nutritionists, physical and respiratory therapists, pharmacists, patient advocates, and clergy who work closely together to provide world-class patient care.
There are specific visitation and conduct rules to ensure optimal care for all patients in the OSCU, which provides a higher level of nursing support and houses more complex equipment than other patient care areas. Each piece of OSCU equipment does its job to help patients recover from surgery, including monitors that frequently check a patient’s vital functions, multiple pumps that deliver medications, and ventilators that help patients breathe.
Most patients are admitted to the OSCU because of the complexity of their operation. Occasionally, following surgery, a patient cannot breathe on their own without the assistance of a ventilator to keep them safe and comfortable. Less frequently, patients are admitted to the OSCU for complex medical problems of the lung, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, abdominal organs, blood, endocrine system, or to manage severe infections. In some cases, the patient may require a transfer to the specialized cardiac, medical, neurologic, or surgical critical care units at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
OSCU staff understand how stressful a complex hospital stay can be and will do all they can to support the patient’s family members and friends. Patients and their visitors will speak with a doctor regularly to ensure they are fully informed of the medical condition at hand. In fact, for patients who require a prolonged stay in the OSCU, the team may organize a formal meeting with the patient’s loved ones to review the perioperative course, discuss expectations, and make decisions about future care.
The OSCU, a one-of-a-kind, dedicated Orthopedic Surgery Intensive Care Unit, allows HSS to safely undertake increasingly complex and challenging cases and maintain our leadership role in advancing the care of the orthopedic patient into the 21st century.