What are the visiting hours?

ICU visiting hours are flexible and patient focused. We ask that you partner with us to help make patient care and safety our first priority. We also ask that you partner with us and avoid asking questions of the health care team during the hours of 6:30 am to 7:30 am as well as 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, to support our change of shift report.

Who can visit the patient?

Visitation is open to direct family members and significant others. For the safety of our patients as well as their own safety, children under the age of 12 may not be permitted to visit.

How many people are permitted in the room at one time?

We limit visitation in the ICU to two visitors at a time. This is the maximum number that our patient rooms can accommodate, as our staff needs to have easy access to both the patient, as well as the medical equipment.

How do I get information regarding my loved one?

The nurse looking after your loved one will be able to give you information on your loved one’s progress. Medical staff will endeavor to meet with you frequently as well.

When is the best time to call and talk to a nurse about my loved one?

Feel free to contact your nurse anytime throughout the day, excluding shift changes, which occur from 6:30-7:30 a.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m. During shift changes, the nurses are providing the next shift with vital information about your loved one. Please keep in mind that because of patient confidentiality, the nurse or secretary can only provide minimal amount of information by phone. We also suggest that you appoint a family spokesperson that will be responsible for gathering all of the information about your loved one and relaying it to other family members.

Do I need to bring anything in for my loved one?

Feel free to bring in family photos which we can display or favorite music which we can play. Otherwise it is not necessary to bring anything unless specifically asked for.

When will I be asked to step out of the patient’s room?

As patient care is our first priority, we may ask visitors to step out of the room for various reasons. The health care team will ask you to step out during certain patent care activities, such as patient assessments, bathing, linen changes and dressing changes, as well as various tests and procedures. If we are concerned about patient overstimulation, we may also ask visitors to step out.

Can I take pictures or videotape my loved one?

Memorial Medical Center does not permit family members to take pictures or videos of our patients, as it may compromise the patient’s right to privacy and confidentiality.

Can I eat and drink in the patient room?

For infection control purposes, food and beverages cannot be left in the room. Visitors of patients in isolation may not have beverages or food for consumption in the room. For patients not in isolation, visitors may bring limited beverages for immediate consumption inside the room. We appreciate your assistance with maintaining a clean and healthy patient care environment.

Can I bring in flowers or balloons?

Fresh flowers, fresh fruits, latex balloons, pets (with the exception of guide dogs) are prohibited.

Why does the medical team change so often?

Each physician member of the ICU team is on a rotating schedule. Attending physicians are usually on service for two weeks at a time. The residents rotate through all different specialties in the hospital in order to complete their training.

Why are they asleep?

When patients are very sick it is often safer to give them sedatives to allow them to rest and recover from their illness or operation. Some patients may appear sleepy or be asleep because of the illness that has brought them to the ICU in the first place, particularly if they have suffered an injury to their brain.

Can they hear me?

We know from asking patients that they remember things that were said to them when they were sedated. It is better to assume they can hear you and talk to them normally.

Can I hold their hand?

Yes. Holding their hand may be important for you and also helpful for them. Please remember to wash your hands before you come into and after you leave the bedside as infection brought from outside ICU can be a serious problem for people who are already very sick.

How are they eating and drinking?

Many sedated patients in the ICU will have a tube placed through their nose or mouth that passes into their stomach and can be fed that way. If they are unable to be fed into their stomach or intestine they can be given the nutrients through an IV drip.

Why is my loved one confused and what can I do to help them?

A state of mental confusion known as delirium can occur as a result of illness, surgery or with the use of some medications. It is important to tell your loved one where they are, time of day and circumstances of their hospitalization frequently and reassure them that they are being taken care of.

Will they remember being here?

Often not but this varies between patients. Patients don’t always realize how sick they were until their family and friends who sat by their bedside tell them.

How do I communicate with my loved one who cannot speak?

Keep exchanges simple. You can help by not asking questions that require long answers and talking to your loved one in a soothing calm tone.

What does the breathing machine do? What is the breathing tube for?

Patients who are having difficulty breathing will often be placed on a breathing machine. This machine provides oxygen through a breathing tube and takes over the effort of breathing to allow the patient’s lungs to be rested and the underlying cause to be treated. If the tube is likely to be required for a longer period of time, the doctors may talk to you about a tracheostomy which is a shorter breathing tube inserted directly into the patient’s neck.

When will the doctor come?

Each doctor has a different schedule so times vary. The intensive care doctors are usually present in the ICU and see the patient frequently. Daily rounds by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, social worker and dietary occur in ICU.

What can I expect during physician rounds?

During rounds, you will hear about the patient’s condition and the plan for the day. You can expect to be included in the patient’s plan.