Intensive Care Medicine

, 37:1575 | Cite as

Recommendations on basic requirements for intensive care units: structural and organizational aspects

  • Andreas ValentinEmail author
  • Patrick Ferdinande
  • ESICM Working Group on Quality Improvement
Special Article



To provide guidance and recommendations for the planning or renovation of intensive care units (ICUs) with respect to the specific characteristics relevant to organizational and structural aspects of intensive care medicine.


The Working Group on Quality Improvement (WGQI) of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) identified the basic requirements for ICUs by a comprehensive literature search and an iterative process with several rounds of consensus finding with the participation of 47 intensive care physicians from 23 countries. The starting point of this process was an ESICM recommendation published in 1997 with the need for an updated version.


The document consists of operational guidelines and design recommendations for ICUs. In the first part it covers the definition and objectives of an ICU, functional criteria, activity criteria, and the management of equipment. The second part deals with recommendations with respect to the planning process, floorplan and connections, accommodation, fire safety, central services, and the necessary communication systems.


This document provides a detailed framework for the planning or renovation of ICUs based on a multinational consensus within the ESICM.


Intensive care medicine Organization Structural requirements Quality of care Consensus paper 



Allied health care professional




European Society of Intensive Care Medicine


Electronic supplementary material


Full time equivalent


High dependency unit


Intensive care unit




Level(s) of care

M and F

Male and female


Working Group of Quality Improvement (ESICM)



We thank the participants of the advisory group listed below for their invaluable work and support. Advisory group: Apostolos Armaganidis (Greece), Antonio Artigas (Spain), Simon V. Baudouin (UK), Geoff Bellingan (UK), Willehad Boemke (Germany), Jan Braun (Germany), Edoardo Calderini (Italy), Maurizia Capuzzo (Italy), Vladimir Cerny (Czech Republik), Akos Csomos (Hungary), Maria Deja (Germany), Ruth Endacott (UK), Kurt Espersen (Denmark), Patrick Ferdinande (Belgium), Armand R.J. Girbes (Netherlands), Bertrand Guidet (France), Kevin Gunning (UK), Anne B. Guttormsen (Norway), Moshe Hersch (Israel), Ken Hillman (Australia), Gaetano Iapichino (Italy), Michael Joannidis (Austria), Max Jonas (UK), Andrew Jones (UK), Nina Maguina (Greece), Paulo Maia (Portugal), Claude Martin (France), Paolo Merlani (Switzerland), Adam Mikstacki (Poland), Rui Moreno (Portugal), Pedro Navarrete-Navarro (Spain), Georg Ntoumenopoulos (UK), Roman Parežnik (Slovenia), Michael Pinsky (USA), Alessandro Protti (Italy), Christian Putensen (Germany), Michael Quintel (Germany), Radovan Radonic (Croatia), Andrew Rhodes (UK), Hans Ulrich Rothen (Switzerland), Esko Ruokonen (Finland), Michael Sander (Germany), Claudia Spiess (Germany), Dierk Vagts (Germany), Andreas Valentin (Austria), Dominique Vandijck (Belgium), Débora Feijó Vieira (Brasil). We thank Andrew Rhodes for editorial advice.

Supplementary material

134_2011_2300_MOESM1_ESM.doc (107 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 107 kb)


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Copyright information

© Copyright jointly held by Springer and ESICM 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Valentin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patrick Ferdinande
    • 2
  • ESICM Working Group on Quality Improvement
  1. 1.General and Medical ICURudolfstiftung HospitalViennaAustria
  2. 2.Surgical and Transplantation ICUUniversity Hospital GasthuisbergLeuvenBelgium

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