Visiting a loved one in Intensive Care

20 Jul 2016

It can be difficult to visit a loved on in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital. It usually means they are seriously unwell, and emotions can be running high. Here are answers to some of our most commonly asked questions about coming into ICU.

Why can I only spend a limited time with my loved one while he/she is in the ICU?

As there are a number of care requirements such as personal care, procedures and doctors’ visits, you may be asked to leave the bedside during these times. It is also important for your loved one to get enough rest and quiet time to help with their recovery process. However, visits from loved ones are important to patients and do provide comfort, so we encourage visiting from close family during visiting hours. To limit disturbance to other patients, we limit numbers to two visitors at a time.

Is it alright to visit the ICU if I have a cold or am unwell?

Patients in ICU are in a vulnerable state of health and their immune system is not strong. It is better to stay away if you are unwell or if absolutely necessary visit for short periods only and ask the staff for a mask.

Who is allowed to visit? Is it alright to bring young children into the ICU?

Due to space constraints and noise levels, we recommend only close family or friends visit in ICU. If you are not a close family member, please check with the family before you visit. There is no reason not to bring a child in to visit, however, please consider that seeing their loved one in that condition or nature of the surroundings might be distressful for the child.

When can I ring to enquire about my loved one’s condition?

You can ring through directly at any time to check on your loved one’s condition. However, we suggest that one family member is nominated as the point of contact to make the calls and update the rest of the family and friends to avoid miscommunication. This also ensures that nurses are not taken away from patient care duties repeatedly. Please understand that for privacy reasons only limited information can be given over the phone as we have no way of confirming the identity of the caller.