For Families and Visitors: What to expect in the ICU
- The doors to the ICU are locked; please contact the nursing unit every time you come to visit. The Nurse officer will check to see if visiting is allowed. Sometimes people are asked to wait due to tests, procedures, or issues needing privacy.
- We allow two people at a time during visits. Children under 12 are NOT allowed in the ICU. Rooms are small and there is a lot of equipment, which makes space limited. At times visits may need to be limited to 10 minutes due to a patientís condition.
- We ask that the family appoint a spokesperson so that every time loved ones come to see how the patient is doing we can refer them to that person. This helps the nurse focus on patient care instead of having to leave the patient to attain visitor.
- Confidentiality is very strict and protected by law. The staff cannot give out any personal information, and we cannot share information from the medical record.
- Please do not eat or bring food into patientís room; drinks are acceptable.
- No flowers or plants (standing water breeds germs).
- Please turn off cell phones prior to entering the ICU. You can use them in the halls or lobby outside of the unit.
- You will be asked to leave during shift change, between 7 and 8 a.m. and p.m. This allows the nurses to exchange information and do an assessment.
- Remember that patients in the ICU need rest. Sometimes frequent visitors can be tiring, so we ask that you limit visitors.
- It is OK to help your loved one to wash, reposition, and eat.
- Donít be alarmed if your loved one seems confused or "foggy." Often people are taking strong medication or sedation. It's not unusual for people to have poor concentration or frequent forgetfulness.
- The ICU nurses may have 1 or 2 patients.
- Patients in the ICU are connected to a heart monitor (EKG) and an oxygen monitor. Depending on the patient's condition, there may be many other types of equipment and monitors that the nurse can explain to you.
- With so many monitors, everything beeps, squeals, and makes unfamiliar sounds. The ICU can be a very noisy place, making it difficult to get any rest. We try to allow patients to rest but sometimes we need to keep them awake. The nurse will go over this with you.
- Patients in the ICU may have many doctors, who make rounds throughout the day. It's hard to predict when the doctor will come. It can be helpful to leave a message with a phone number for the doctor to call you. Your nurse can help you coordinate things.
- It's hard to predict how long a patient will be in the ICU. When the doctor is confident the patient does not need our care, they will be transferred to another Ward.