The MSICU team consists of highly specialized healthcare professionals from the following disciplines:
MSICU Medical Director
This is the physician who is responsible to oversee all the physicians who rotate in the ICU. If you have concerns about medical treatment that your family is receiving that cannot be addressed by the attending physician, then you may wish to meet with the MSICU Medical Director.
MSICU Attending Physician (“Intensivist”)
An Intensivist is a physician who has specialized in the care of critically ill patients. This is the physician leader of the medical team and is the primary physician responsible for the patients on his service. These physicians work in a rotating schedule – generally they are responsible for the MSICU patients on their service for one week at a time, with handovers occurring on Friday.
Critical Care Residents (“Fellows”)
McGill University has a training program in Critical Care. Residents in this program are training to become Intensivists. They have already completed all or most of their training in a “base specialty” such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesia or Emergency Medicine. These residents are often referred to as “Fellows” because they are pursuing addition training above what is needed for a medical license.
Residents are physicians in training – they have completed their medical school training, and they are now training to become physicians in their chosen field. Many resident training programs send their residents to rotate in the MSICU in order to learn how to care for very sick patients. These residents generally spend one month at a time in the MSICU. Residents always work under the supervision of an attending physician.
Medical students from McGill University or other universities – sometimes even from other countries – can choose to take an elective rotation in critical care and may rotate in the MSICU. The students always work under the supervision of a resident or attending physician.
There are often observers rotating in the MSICU. These are often physicians from other countries who are coming to learn how our ICU functions. They do not provide patient care.
Head Nurse/Nurse Coordinator
The Head Nurse is responsible for directing, organizing and supervising the work of their nursing staff as well as provide leadership and guidance. They coordinate nursing efforts to ensure that effective patient care is being provided and that quality standards are met. They evaluate the performance of staff nurses, providing feedback and mentoring, and contribute to staff professional development.
Head Nurses collaborate with hospital directors and interdisciplinary teams in order to develop, implement and evaluate programs and services. They review patient and staff data to measure the effectiveness of patient care.
If you have concerns about the nursing care that your family member is receiving, then you may want to meet with the Head Nurse to discuss your concerns.
Assistant Head Nurse (AHN)
The Assistant Head Nurses assist in the coordination of all nursing activities related directly or indirectly to patient care. They participate in the review and evaluation of a patient's condition and work collaboratively with the nurse, physician, patient and the patient's family. AHNs communicate and collaborate with multidisciplinary team members and community health partners.
Nursing educators are responsible for the orientation, training and education programs for nurses, beneficiary attendants and nursing students. They offer support to team members with the use of technology and treatments that are new, complex or less frequently used. In collaboration with other team members, they design, implement, evaluate and revise programs aimed at improving the quality of care. Nursing educators are available to support patients and families who are dealing with critical illness.
The charge nurse is an experienced clinical nurse, who helps manage the daily organization of the ICU. They have an overview of the clinical events of all patients in the MSICU. This nurse helps arrange which patients are cared for by which nurse and helps manage the flow of patients in and out of the MSICU. In addition, they act as an important resource for the bedside nurses and the entire clinical team.
Nurses are responsible for care and monitoring of one or two patients during an 8 or 12-hour shift. They work in collaboration with the physician and other health care professionals. Nurses provide both basic and specialized nursing care and prescribed medical interventions.
While a nurse’s primary responsibility is always to the patient, they are also an excellent resource for family members. They provide education on nursing care, medical equipment and interventions. They can offer advice, emotional support and reassurance.
Respiratory Therapists (RT)
Respiratory therapists are experts in respiratory support; they are available 24-hours a day to help patients to keep breathing. Respiratory therapists administer inhaled drugs such as asthma medications, and medical gases such as oxygen. They are experts in the setup, management and use of a variety of medical devices such as mechanical ventilators (breathing machines). Respiratory therapists assist in the insertion, removal and maintenance of breathing tubes, and help to wean patients from ventilators. They provide teaching to patients and families about respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, and respiratory equipment such as sleep apnea machines and non-invasive ventilatory.
Pharmacists are trained in advanced clinical use of medications, the dosages, administration, indications and contraindications, potential side effects and drug interactions between medications. They participate in daily medical rounds and review the medications ordered for all patients in the ICU on a daily basis. The pharmacists provide the medical team with suggestions regarding changes to the patient's medications if necessary and are authorized to prescribe or modify medications in some circumstances. They document medication related issues in the patient’s chart and ensure that medication related issues are monitored as required.
Pharmacists ensure that the team has a complete and up-to-date record of the patient’s usual medications. They do this by speaking with the patient and family, consulting the patient’s community pharmacy and using the Dossier de Santé du Québec (DSQ).
Pharmacists are available to meet with patients and their families to explain changes in the patient’s medications, and to answer any medication related questions they may have.
Social workers are available to support patients and families, who are dealing with serious illness, disability and end-of-life issues. They are important resources to assist patients and their families in cases of stress, isolation, lack of resources or youth protection. Social workers are available to provide informational support to help patients and their families who may require assistance with problems such as legal issues, finances, and referrals to community resources. They assist in organizing family meetings to facilitate communication between patient's, their families and the critical care team. Social workers can also assist with such difficult situations as helping to bring young children to visit a critically ill family member.
Physiotherapists are rehabilitation professionals with expertise in assessing and treating individuals with injuries or diseases of the muscles, bones, joints, brain/spinal cord, heart and lungs. They play a vital role in helping critically ill patients to improve their breathing, muscle strength, joint movement, physical function and activity after illness or surgery. They use a variety of treatment methods such as exercise, airway clearance techniques, balance training, gait retraining and patient/family education.
Physiotherapy initiated in the intensive care unit has been shown to improve patients’ physical function and well-being, quality of life and reduce the length of time spent in ICU and in the hospital.
Occupational therapists provide recommendations for assistive devices, adapted equipment and therapies to maximize independent functioning. This can include alternatives to restraints, positioning to prevent contractures, skin integrity and optimizing self-care performance. They have special training and experience in helping patients reach their maximum level of function and independence in their daily life. They give patients activities to help their coordination, range of motion and strength
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
Speech language pathologists (SLPs) assess, diagnose and treat voice, communication and swallowing disorders. They use a variety of formal and informal diagnostic tests to identify deficits and establish and implement treatment plans to maintain, improve or restore effective communication and safe swallowing. SLPs have expertise in typical development and disorders of communication and swallowing, in addition to specializing in the use of assistive communication technologies. SLPs also provide education and counselling to patients and their families concerning voice, communication and swallowing problems while advocating for patients on matters pertaining to these disorders.
Nutrition is an important component of healing, and dieticians work closely with patients and families to ensure that patients maintain or improve their nutritional status while in the ICU. Dieticians have specialized knowledge and skills in food and therapeutic nutrition. They assess and monitor patients daily in order to evaluate their nutritional needs and create a nutritional plan that is adjusted as the patient’s condition changes. When patients cannot eat adequately by mouth, a dietician will ensure appropriate nutritional support using tube feeds or intravenous nutrition. And when patients are ready, they will work with patients and families to transition back to eating by mouth.
Dietetic technicians work with the dietician to ensure that patient’s receive food that is appropriate to the patient and that considers their diet preferences. They also provide feedback to the dietician when patients have difficult eating and ensure that the correct food tray is supplied to the patient based on diet prescriptions.
A clinical ethicist consultation is available in the MSICU to help clinical staff, patients, and family understand, and resolve conflict or moral distress that can sometimes occur in the MSICU. Common ethical problems arise from disagreement or uncertainty in terms of patients’ best interest, goals of care and proportionate treatments. A clinical ethicist is able to explore the ethical issues with all stakeholders and help resolve conflict or distress.
Music therapists are credentialed professionals who use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains. Music therapy is provided to patients within the MSICU to assist with needs such as managing stress, and anxiety. Music therapy goals are determined in collaboration with the patient, family, and multidisciplinary team.
The Jewish General Hospital is a teaching hospital. Students from all of the above disciplines train under the supervision of MSICU team throughout the year.
The MSICU places importance in respecting an individual/family’s spiritual needs and traditions. We offer opportunities for the patient and family to share and practice their traditions /beliefs within the environment of the MSICU.
Pastoral team members are available to meet with you and your loved one to provide spiritual support and guidance. We also encourage you to contact the pastoral /spiritual leader from your community as we welcome their presence in the MSICU.
There is a designated room (chapel) which is available to families located in Pavilion B, Room 643. It is open 24 hours a day for prayers and meditation. Should you wish to contact a member of the pastoral services team, please inform a member of the healthcare team.
PABs collaborate with the team to help care for and meet the needs of MSICU patients and their families. PABs provide frequent assistance to ensure the comfort and well-being of your loved one i.e. bathing, turning, lifting and positioning patients.
Unit agents perform routine clerical duties related to the day-to-day operation of the MSICU.
Unit agents facilitate communication by answering the phones, and relaying information to staff and visitors. The unit agent is stationed at the front desk of the unit seen upon entry to the MSICU
Housekeeping (Environmental Services)
Staff from the Housekeeping Department help maintain a clean environment for our patients, staff and visitors.