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Mercy Hospital

Intensive Care Unit

Intensive Care Unit

Intensive Care Unit

For more information or to contact the Mercy Hospital ICU call

Mercy Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) supports patients and families and assures safe passage in a caring and healing environment.

The nurses of Mercy's ICU deliver high-quality care, with forty-five percent of our staff holding certification in critical care. This certification level shows our staff's individual accountability in attaining the knowledge and expertise needed to care for the critically ill in an ever-changing environment.

Award-winning ICU

Mercy Hospital and its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are proud to be a three-time recipient (2009, 2006 and 2007) of the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The Beacon Award recognizes critical care units for exhibiting the highest quality standards in nurse recruitment and retention, patient outcomes, staff training, healthy work environments, leadership, and evidence-based practice and research.

The ICU has also won several safety and innovation awards by implementing new practice guidelines in their daily work to virtually eliminate the VAP infection.

Mercy Hospital also implemented the ventilator bundle concept as part of an Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) collaborative on improving care in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Important things you need to know when coming to the ICU

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When your family member is admitted to the ICU, he or she may come from surgery, the emergency department, a physician's office or from another unit in the hospital. Although you are anxious to see how they are doing, the staff needs a period of time to settle the patient, review the physician's orders and make the patient comfortable.

Use this time to let other family members know about the admission and/or surgery, and to get yourself some coffee or a snack. The nurses will allow visitors to come into the room when your loved one is settled.

Family lounge

Our family lounge is here to give you a quiet place to be near your family member. Our lounge serves the family members of up to 19 patients. The hospital cafeteria is the preferred place for eating.

Taking care of yourself

During this stressful time, it is also important that you also care for yourself.

  • Call family members to provide emotional support. Often, having someone to just listen can be of great support.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Eat healthy and balanced meals.
  • Get plenty of exercise.

In order to be a strong supporter of your loved one, you must take care of yourself. Talk to the nurse if you have concerns.

Manage you and your family member’s heath care online

MyChart is a secure way to manage your health care online. View your discharge instructions, refill your prescription, schedule a clinic appointment and more. Log in or sign up for MyChart.

To add an adult whose medical care you help manage to your account, please complete, print and mail or fax both pages of the Adult Proxy Form. The patient (or authorized person) must sign the proxy form and sign to authorize release of his or her medical information.


You may telephone the ICU at any time. Please select a family spokesperson to call for information. When you are away from the unit, be sure to leave a phone number where you can be reached in case we need to contact you. A limited number of pagers are also available. Please consult the ICU nurse for further information.

What you can do to help us with infection control

We ask all visitors to clean their hands using the hand-cleansing foam located right outside of each patient's room before entering the patient's room and again when you leave the room. A sink is also located in each patient room and in the family lounge restroom for hand washing before and after visiting.

To minimize the risk of infection, food and drink, plants in dirt, candy and most personal items are not permitted in patient rooms unless cleared with the registered nurse.

Please do not visit if you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms or have been exposed to chicken pox, measles, or mumps in the last 21 days.

Family support

Whenever a patient is admitted to the ICU, it is a stressful time for the patient, family and friends. While the care of the patient takes priority the nurses are also concerned about the patient's family and encourage you to ask questions about hospital services or care.

The ICU nurse wants you to feel comfortable discussing any aspects of your loved one's care. The ICU nurse welcomes any insights or information from you to make the hospital stay easier. This may include information about favorite television or radio programs or music.

Please remember that touch is also very important in the recovery process. Holding the patient's hand and assisting in the physical care can be helpful and reassuring to both the patient and yourself.

Many machines have alarms that make noises. Please be aware that these sounds may not always signal a serious problem. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


Please remember the hospital and grounds are smoke-free.


The hospital is a fragrance free environment.

Cell phones

Cellular telephones are not permitted while in the ICU as it can interfere with patient confidentiality. Please use cell phones in the family lounge or on the first floor.

Latex balloons

Latex balloons are not permitted in the hospital. Mylar balloons are acceptable.

Personal belongings

Because space is limited on the unit, we ask that relatives take most of the patient's personal possessions home for safekeeping. If necessary, the Business Office/Security may secure some valuables during the patient's stay. The hospital is not responsible for damage, theft or loss of your personal belongings. We also advise the family to take the patient's medications home.


The ICU unit policy is that flowers are not allowed in the patients room as long as they are an ICU patient. We will label and place the flowers outside of the room until they are transferred out of the unit.

Source: The Association for Professionals in Infection Control Text of Infection Control and Epidemiology, 2002; JCAHO Infection Control Standards, 2005; The Society for Critical Care Medicine Web site,, Patient & Family
Reviewed by: Jared Crotteau, RN, BSN
First Published: 06/18/2004
Last Reviewed: 08/01/2009

Visiting guidelines

  • The ideal visiting time for ICU patients is 15 to 30 minutes. Visiting time may be shortened or extended as the patient's condition changes.
  • Please limit visitors to two or three at a time.
  • Visitors may be asked to leave the patient's room, depending on the patient's need or at the request of the staff or physician.
  • If the curtain is pulled or the door closed, please check with the nurse before entering.
  • Please be courteous and respectful of other patients' privacy as you go to and from your family member's room.

Patients cannot have visitors or phone calls during the following times

  • 7 to 8 a.m.
  • 10 to 10:30 a.m.
  • 3 to 4 p.m.
  • 7 to 8 p.m.

During this time we conduct RN shift-to-shift report and, in order to protect patient confidentiality, we ask all ICU visitors and family to step out of the ICU during these times.

Pet visitation

It may be possible for your loved one's pet to visit. Please ask a staff member for more information.

Critical care team

ICU Rounds

The critical care team does patient rounds daily. Patient goals and plan of care are discussed.

Families are encouraged to give any input to the nurse.

Members of a highly skilled team consisting of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals will care for your loved one.


In addition to attending physicians, there may be other physicians who take care of your family member as consultants. These are physicians who are specifically requested to see the patient to give opinions and provide treatments.

  • Intensivist - a physician who specializes in intensive care medicine
  • Internists - a physician specializing in nonsurgical diseases
  • Cardiologist - a physician specializing in diseases of the heart
  • Nephrologist - a physician specializing in kidney diseases
  • Pulmonologist - a physician specializing in diseases of the lungs
  • Neurologist - a physician specializing in neurological diseases (i.e. brain and spinal cord)
  • Surgeon - a physician who conducts surgery
  • Trauma surgeon - a physician who specializes in trauma (injury) care
  • Neurosurgeon - a physician who specializes in neuro trauma (injury), and brain and spinal care

Mercy Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Intensivists

ICU staff

Registered nurse (RN) - The registered nurse has advanced education in the care of critically ill patients. The primary nursing approach promotes continuity and coordination of care by paying attention not only to the physical needs of the patients, but also to the psychological, emotional and spiritual needs that often accompany a serious illness, injury or prolonged hospitalization.

Health unit coordinator - The health unit coordinator answers phones, transcribes physician orders and assists in receptionist duties.

Nursing assistant - The nursing assistant assists with patient's personal cares under the direction of the registered nurse.

Transport aide - The transport staff assist with transporting patients to and from procedures and/or tests. The staff also helps with many other delivery needs for the patient and hospital staff.

Housekeeper - The housekeeping staff keeps the environment clean.


Respiratory therapist - The respiratory therapists work closely with the physician and nurses to provide airway management, deliver oxygen, assist in managing ventilators and administer breathing medication.

Pharmacists - The pharmacists work closely with the physician and nurses to assure safe and correct medication administration and monitoring for the desired response. They are available to assist with medication information and teaching.

Social worker - The social workers are available to assist patients and families with financial concerns, discharge plans, home health needs, nursing home arrangement and transportation needs. They are also available to assist with organizing family conferences.

Dietician - The dietician is available to assist patients in meeting their dietary requirements.

Chaplain - The hospital chaplain provides an interfaith ministry, nurturing patient/family values and beliefs, and encouraging a more holistic approach to health care. Your physician, nurse or social worker can make a referral.

Rehabilitation service - As your family member's condition improves, the physician may order physical and occupational therapy.

  • Physical therapists address mobility needs.
  • Occupational therapists assist with activities of daily living training.
  • Speech language pathologists assess and treat swallowing and communication issues.

Interpreter - a free service, available upon request.

Patient representative - Questions, concerns or complaints about care or related issues should be discussed with your family member's physician, nurse or the patient representative. The patient representative is there to help answer questions before they turn into problems.