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intensive care (intensive therapy) (in-ten-siv) n. specialized and monitored health care provided for critically ill and immediately postoperative patients by specialist multidisciplinary staff in a specially designed hospital unit (i. c. or i. t. unit, ICU or ITU). neonatal i. c. unit (NICU) a unit providing intensive care for preterm, very low-birth-weight, and seriously ill babies. paediatric i. c. unit (PICU) a unit providing intensive care for seriously ill children. See also coronary care.