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What you need to know

Important things you need to know when coming to the ICU

Admission

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

Allina Health account 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 Allina Health account.

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.

Privacy

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.

Smoking

Please remember the hospital and grounds are smoke-free.

Fragrances

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.

Flowers

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.