We at ECRMC understand how stressful the intensive care unit can be, which is why we offer specialized and attentive care for both patients and family. Our physicians and experienced nursing staff provide medical care based on a quality care plan created to aide in the patient’s recovery, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.
If you have a loved one in the ICU, ensure you and your family becomes part of the patient care.
We encourage you:
- To use a notepad to write down any questions, concerns or needs and have a delegated spokesperson for the entire family.
- Leave a phone number for staff to use if there are any changes in the patient’s condition for our staff to contact you when you are not in the medical center
- Take care of your health. Please keep rested and remember that patients in the ICU rely on the strength of the family.
The intensive care unit at ECRMC is located on the second floor. This unit consists of 12 direct care patient rooms all set up to monitor and provide life support to patients who are critical, or potentially critically ill or injured. Five rooms are designed as isolation rooms for patients that require non-direct contact with other people due to infectious diseases that are highly contagious.
GUIDELINE FOR VISITORS
- Only two visitors will be allowed at a time, which may vary depending on the patient's condition.
- To enter the intensive care unit, use the intercom that is located outside the entrance. A nurse inside the unit will verify with the assigned registered nurse and allow you to enter. If there is no answer, please be patient and a nurse or attendant will be with you shortly.
- Patients in ICU are at times fragile and require a lot of rest. Only immediate family and clergy are allowed to enter and limited to ten minutes per visit. All visitors must have no visible signs of contagious or infectious diseases.
- Any visitor under the age of 16 is not permitted. Only in extreme measures will a child be allowed to enter a patient room and may never be left unattended.
- The patient care rooms in the ICU are limited in space and do not allow for much storage. We recommend visitors limit any personal items.
- All patients in the ICU are on restricted diets. Please do not bring any food or drinks unless you have nurse approval.
- Please step out of the ICU when asked, this is to ensure the patient's privacy to provide care.
Outside the ICU entrance is additional waiting area for family members and friends. This area is open 24 hours a day and located close enough to receive updates from family members inside the unit.
ICU is closed during shift change twice per day.
Closed: 7:00 am - 8:30 am and 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The following are suggestions for family members on how to communicate with a loved one in the ICU:
- Speak in a calm, clear manner. Make short positive statements. Many family members assume because their loved one is on a ventilator they cannot hear, so they speak loudly. Don't worry, they can hear you.
- Acknowledge and recognize any discomfort your loved one may be experiencing. For example, you may tell them, "You are in the ICU, and you have a tube to help you breath. This is just temporary, and we will get the nurse to give you some medication to make you more comfortable, you are doing great and making progress."
- Do not ask the patient questions that cannot be answered. Use a board, so the patient can point to a word such as "pain," this allows your loved one to make his needs known. Most ICU's have these boards available or will make one for you. It is not unusual for patients to be angry, frustrated or not be interested in communicating. Be patient with them, the frustration level will decrease and perhaps another method of communication will work better for them.
- Provide a small board for the patient to write on. Many patients can write just enough so you know what they want. The hospital should provide this; however, these boards can also be purchased at a drug store or art supply store.
- Offer short phrases that offer support and reassurance. For example, "Mom, its Maureen, I'm here with you and you are doing much better. Everyone is taking good care of you."
- Simple hand gestures may work as well, such as thumbs up = "good"; and thumbs down = "pain" or "I need something."
- Remind your loved one that "this is just temporary and they are making good progress." Flood them with faith and hope.
- Hold your loved one's hand or touch them gently (be sure to check with the ICU staff first). For example, rubbing lotion on their hands or feet may not be allowed.
- Orient your loved one to the surroundings, for example, the date and time of day. You may want to make a sign each day with the date on it and place it where they can easily see it (for example, on the wall at the foot of their bed). Describe what the different noises are to help ease any fear or anxiety they may have about them.
- Read your loved one's favorite prayers, poems, books, stories, or bible verses.
- Music may be allowed in the ICU when appropriate. Again be sure to check with the ICU staff for guidance.
- Finally, just ask — the ICU staff may have the perfect suggestion for you to assist you in communicating with your loved one.
General suggestions that may be helpful to family members:
- Always check with the critical care staff before touching anything or saying anything to the patient. Stimulation can cause harm during critical periods of the recovery process.
- Ask the critical care staff to explain to you what the current status of your love one is, so you understand what is going on and why.
- Ask for suggestions on what would be helpful at this time for your loved one.
- Do not discuss any unpleasant matters in your love one's room. If your love one's condition is critical, discuss this or other problems outside the room. For example, do not discuss financial matters, or family disagreements, etc.
- If you are emotional and or upset, leave the room. It may be helpful to request a Chaplin or social worker to help you to calm down and help you feel reassured, or sit quietly at the bedside. It may only be harmful to your loved one to speak when you are angry or upset.
- Request your church Chaplin, the hospital Chaplin, or a social worker if you feel you need further support for yourself or for your loved one during the hospitalization.
- Consider setting up a family visitation schedule to spend time at the hospital, this prevents one person from becoming exhausted. It is important for family members to remember to be supportive of each other. Don't forget to take care of yourself, eat, drink fluids and get rest!
- Consider setting up an information update on the family answering machine so family and friends can get frequent updates on your love one's condition. Multiple phone calls to the Critical Care Unit staff can be time consuming and the staff wants to be at your loved one's bedside.
- Have two designated family members that communicate with the physicians and nurses regarding your loved one's daily progress, and then those family members can update everyone else. You may want to keep a journal of information, questions and answers. The critical care staff does not have time to answer the questions from multiple family members - they are very busy people and have your love one's best interest at heart.
- Allow your loved one periods of rest, this is a critical part of the healing process.
- Just sit quietly at the bedside, speak only if your loved one wakes up. Offer support and comfort.
- The ICU is a busy place filled with all types of noise. Patients do not get much sleep, and sleep deprivation along with narcotic drugs can contribute to confusion in the intensive care unit, called "ICU psychosis," due to the critical care environment and illness itself. Many elderly patients become confused just being removed from their homes into a different environment, or in the dark of night, even when they are not particularly ill. As the patient continues heal from the illness or injury, medications are typically decreased. Normal sleep patterns gradually return and the patient recovers from the confusion of ICU psychosis. The act of communication will aid the patient in the process of returning to normal orientation. You will find the hospital staff very helpful in offering suggestions that will be beneficial to your loved one as the healing process continues. Various types and levels of communication will be of benefit at different stages of the recovery process.