All patients in the ICU/CCU are attached to various monitors and machines. These allow for continuous monitoring of the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level and other vital information. These monitors and machines have different alarm sounds. Some of them are normal sounds, telling us that the machine is functioning; others are reminders to alert staff to change fluids or medication. The patients are monitored from the nurse’s station as well as from the patient’s room.
One of the machines a patient may need is a ventilator, sometimes called a “breathing machine” or “life support system.” This machine assists the patient in receiving enough oxygen. The patient cannot talk while the breathing tube is in place. They may communicate by other means such as hand gestures, writing, pointing to a picture, using a word board or through lip reading. Patients are often on medication while on the ventilator that helps them relax, but can make them sleepy. Some patients are more easily agitated when families are trying to talk to them while on the ventilator. The nurse may ask you not to stimulate or talk with the patient, or even ask you to leave. Do not take offense to this, as this is a means to keep the patient calm.
The patient may have one or more intravenous (IV) lines. IV lines are used to give the patient fluids, medications and sometimes nutrition.
Patients may also have other tubes attached to them. Some of these tubes drain fluids away from the patient. A tube inserted in the nose may be used to keep the stomach empty to prevent nausea and vomiting. This tube may also be used to give the patient food, fluid or medications until the patient is able to swallow, or the stomach function returns.
We try to maintain the patient’s privacy during their stay. If curtains are drawn or the door is closed, please check with the staff before entering. The patient may be undergoing a procedure, bed bath or bed change. In most patient rooms, the curtains are left open to monitor our patients and keep them safe. Please remember to respect the privacy of all patients. We request that family members stay in their patient’s room or in the lounge. Please do not wait for patient or linger in the hallway.
The ICU/CCU is cared for by a number of health care professionals who work as a team to provide the best possible care. In addition to the nurse and physician, other professionals may include therapists, social workers, care coordinators, clergy, pharmacists and dieticians.
Information regarding a patient’s condition will be given to immediate family only. Feel free to talk to the nurse or physician if you have further questions or concerns and let them know if your family member has special needs.
Visiting is limited to family members and significant others. We request that no more than two people visit at a time.
In the best interest of the patient, “quiet times” are scheduled from
1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Only one person will be allowed to stay quietly during this time to provide a rest period for our patients. The hospital staff is also asked not to disturb the patient during these times.
We ask that you designate one family member to check on the patient’s condition. This will decrease the amount of time the nurse spends on the phone and allow her/him to spend more time caring for the patient. Other calls requesting patient information may be referred to family. To ensure patient confidentiality, we will not give out information to callers unless we know them to be family members. If you have concerns or requests, please talk with the nurse caring for your family member.
Because the ICU/CCU patient is more prone to catching infections, the area must be kept clean, therefore, no food or drink is allowed in the ICU/CCU patient rooms. Plants and flowers are also not allowed in the patient rooms. Please have friends/family wait to send flowers or plants until patient has transferred out of the ICU/CCU.
The cafeteria is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a seating area. A vending area is located next to the cafeteria and is open 24 hours. Families are encouraged to take breaks periodically to maintain their own health.