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Critical Care

Working on quality improvement in the care of critically ill patients Department
Working on quality improvement in the care of critically ill patients
The academic Intensive Care Unit for adult patients (ICU, in Dutch ICV) in the University Medical Center Groningen is an essential part in the continuity of care provided to many academic patients because of the complexity of their disease. In addition, the medical expertise concerning critically ill patients has evolved in recent years leading to a specific knowledge base and an associated field of specific ICU-focused research. Critically ill patients in many ways act and react differently compared to non-critically ill patients.

Research has increased insight into pathophysiological mechanisms of severe and acute conditions that typically warrant intensive care

However, the 'golden bullet' in treatment has not yet been found. Over the years, our treatments have had an increasingly beneficial effect on both short- and long-term morbidity and mortality.

The most significant progress is often not made by doing more, but by doing less

For example, less sedation, lower tidal volumes in mechanical ventilation, being more selective in antibiotic choice and duration, and performing fewer blood transfusions appear to be beneficial. Early mobilisation, rapid weaning from the ventilator, and extended visiting hours for family members and involving them in care are also helpful for the adverse effects of a stay in the ICU.


The ICU organisation, close clinical observation, professional collaboration and communication within teams, as well as close contact with referring specialists are indispensable in creating a favorable course for the critically ill. These are vital elements in the modern training program for intensivists and ICU-nurses. How we can improve learning at the workplace and how to act in teams is part of our research program together with LEARN.


How our research benefits to society

We focus on

  • the mechanisms and patterns of renal and pulmonary failure in the critically ill and their short-term and long-term consequences on patients’ health and quality of life;
  • the short-term and long-term consequences of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy.

We participate in department transcending projects, in particular

  • the optimisation of education (LEARN);
  • organisation of the care process.


Research related:
Fredrike Zwiers-Blokzijl, PhD, MSc,
Clinical Research Coordinator
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University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Critical Care
PO Box 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting address
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Critical Care
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen