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What you need to know

  • Arrival to the ICU

    We will need time to settle your loved one into his or her room. You may be asked to wait in the waiting room during this time. We understand that you want to be with your loved one and we will be back to get you as soon as possible. Please take this time to update family and friends.

    Presence and participation of family/significant others

    Your presence and participation in the care of your loved one is flexible and is set based on the needs of

    each patient. Please speak with the patient’s nurse for appropriate times to be in the room with the patient.

    Who can be in the room with the patient?

    In general, anyone who is comforting or helpful to your loved one’s well-being is welcome; including children with adult supervision. Pets that meet hospital requirements are allowed. Please discuss this option with the nurse. Spaces like the cafeteria and main lobby are available for the comfort of large groups of family and friends. The Liberty Club is available to veterans and active military personnel, along with their family and friends.

    Partner with us to fight infection

    • Please wash your hands or use foam each time you enter AND exit the patient’s room; and you can expect us to do the same.
    • Do not visit if you are sick.
    • Plants with dirt or fresh cut flowers can spread infections to critically ill patients. These items can be held at the unit’s main desk during your loved one’s stay with us.

    What can you do to help?

    Bring pictures of family and friends or small items that have comforting memories of home. Partner with the nurse and ask about daily goals and how you can be helpful. You can also use caringbridge.org to create a website on the Internet to keep your family and friends informed. 

    Spiritual and emotional support is available

    Our chaplains respect all religious or spiritual beliefs and are available for support, comfort and guidance. They can help you through this difficult time. The chaplain is ready to listen, help you make difficult decisions and make sense of your circumstances. Per your request, a nurse or social worker will arrange a visit for you with a chaplain.

    You are important

    Having a loved one in the ICU is stressful. Dealing with stress in positive ways is important for you and for the health of your loved one. Remember to take care of yourself. It is OK to leave the hospital and follow these helpful tips:

    • get plenty of sleep
    • exercise
    • eat well
    • avoid alcohol, too much caffeine and sugar.

    Use these times to care for your needs:

    • 7 to 8:00 a.m.
    • 3 to 4:00 p.m.
    • 7 to 8:00 p.m.
    • 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.

    Rest is important to your loved one. Activity is minimized during these times to promote rest. We encourage you to use this time as an opportunity to take a break and care for yourself; however, you are welcome to remain in the room with your loved one.

    Social services

    Clinical social workers are available to assist you and your loved one by providing emotional support. Please talk with the nurse and ask to meet with a social worker about issues such as:

    • coping with illness, treatment and recovery
    • children’s adjustment and visitation
    • grief and bereavement
    • financial or insurance concerns
    • job-related or school concerns
    • mental health or substance use
    • health care directives
    • discharge planning.

    We want to know what your loved one wants

    Are there specific treatments that your loved one does or does not want? As a partner in the care of your loved one, you are encouraged to ask the doctor about treatment options. Talk with the doctor and nurse about your loved one’s health care goals. The care team will help you select options that are most appropriate for your loved one. We will support your decisions.

    Please talk to us

    Studies show that the more families talk about care decisions with ICU staff, the more comfortable they are with their treatment decisions. Please talk with the care team about working through these decisions.