What is it about?

Critical care is important in saving the lives of patients with serious illnesses. But it is associated with high use of energy, medical equipment, and consumables. Greenhouse gas emissions and waste from intensive care units (ICUs) harm the environment. To address this issue, experts have studied the carbon emissions from ICUs and measures to reduce the same. In this study, the authors present a framework for environmental sustainability. They aim to reduce the use of energy, pharmaceuticals and waste in critical care. The framework includes principles that can be applied in ICUs. These include: avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink, and research.

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Why is it important?

The healthcare sector contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. ICUs are often considered as carbon hotspots. ICUs are always active, with high use of energy for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. By adopting the suggested strategies, ICUs can cut their carbon footprint. This will help provide safe and high quality critical care in all countries with minimal resource use. This will be a stepping stone in critical care’s journey towards net zero. KEY TAKEAWAY: Combined efforts by healthcare professionals, waste management services, hospitals and industries can help provide environmentally sustainable care to patients. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being • SDG 13: Climate Action • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Towards net zero: critical care, BMJ, June 2023, BMJ,
DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2021-069044.
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