Visiting the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Visitors are always welcome and encouraged in the MSICU. For the safety and privacy of our patients, there are a few restrictions.  

Due to the critical condition of patients in the MSICU, we request that you verify with the team as to how many visitors can be with the patient at a time, as patients may benefit from lower levels of stimulation. Children are welcome with adult accompaniment. 

Visitors are always welcome except during the following times

  • 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. 
  • 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
  • 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 
  • 11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. 

These reserved times are required for the nurses to exchange information about patients they are caring for, while maintaining patient confidentiality.  

There are times, however, when visiting may not be appropriate.  For example, while that patient is undergoing a procedure or test, or while they are being bathed.  In order to verify that a patient is ready to have a visitor, please use the phone located outside the MSICU door to speak with a staff member. If it is a good time to visit, the staff will unlock the door.  If it is your first visit, please ask for directions to the patient’s room.  If visiting is not possible at the time of your request, you will be provided with information as to the reason for the delay.  

The MSICU has the privilege of offering the  ICU Bridge Program. Student volunteers, often with interest in a career in health care, greet visitors as they approach the unit. They help visitors enter the unit and locate the room of their loved ones. As well, they are available to support with various needs while you wait in the family room.  

Respectful behavior is expected at all times. Safety of the patients, visitors and staff is always a priority. Anyone displaying disruptive behavior may be asked to leave the unit.  

While visiting we encourage you to… 

  • Touch your family member 
  • Speak or read to them 
  • Remind them of the day, date and time and where they are 
  • Reassure them about possible worries (bills, work, children, etc.) 
  • Share the good wishes of others 
  • Keep a journal 
  • Ask the nurse how you can participate in care 

Patients in the MSICU are particularly vulnerable to infections. If you are sick, we ask that you do not visit your loved one until you are feeling better. It is important to wash your hands prior to entering the MSICU, and prior to entering and after leaving the patient’s room. The staff will help you follow all infection control precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting any infections.

Before entering your loved one’s room

What does it mean when the door or curtains are closed? 

Please speak to a nurse before entering the room if the curtains or doors are closed. This may mean that personal care or a procedure is in progress. 

What are the signs located on the top of the doorway? 

Hand washing is mandatory for all patients, visitors and staff. Those patients requiring further isolation precautions will have a sign at the top of the door. Please speak with a nurse for guidance on how to follow these additional isolation measures. Personal belongings entering the room should be placed in a plastic bag or a pillow case. Hooks are available throughout the unit to hang your jackets.  Please remember to wash your hands before entering a room, and upon leaving a room; this is important to protect your loved one and yourself.

What are the white boards in the room for? 

The names of the health care professionals providing patient care will be noted on the board. Additionally, the care plan of the day will be available for your consultation. You can also communicate messages to both the patient and the team on this board.  

Bringing items to the patient’s room 

Please feel free to bring personal items for your loved one such as comfortable pillows, blankets, items of sentimental value, deodorant, hair brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail file, slippers with rubber soles, shampoo, cream, eye masks, earplugs, headphones, movies, music, or anything else that you feel the patient might want or need. Please ensure these items are identified with the patient’s name. Unfortunately, we cannot accept responsibility for lost items.  

Bringing gifts is encouraged as long as it does not impede the ability of the staff to provide care for your loved one. Please verify with staff if you plan on bringing gifts for special occasions.  

Family room

We understand that, while your loved one is critically ill, you may want to stay close by in case of changes in their medical status. For your comfort there is a family room located right outside of the MSICU. The family room is a good place to take a break! You can also meet other families that are going through similar experiences with their loved ones. Families often support each other. 

What you will find in the family room:  

  • A microwave
  • A fridge
  • A kettle
  • An ice machine
  • A water dispenser
  • A charging station for personal electronic devices
  • Two private rooms located in off the main waiting room
  • A bathroom with a shower
  • Information pamphlets
  • A computer

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