Focused patient care
NMC Health’s ICU – Critical Care Unit is an intensive care unit for patients who need more focused nursing care while recovering from a major surgery, injury or illness.
Hearing that a loved on has been admitted to the ICU can be scary. Our staff understands that the patient isn’t the only one affected when someone is hospitalized.
When a person needs to be moved to the ICU, it can cause stress and uncertainty for family and friends. Family and loved ones play an important part in a patient’s recovery, and we strive to involve them in the healing process. We also know it’s important for patients to take time to rest and heal.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the NMC Health Medical Center Emergency Department.
To provide a balance between family contact and rest time, there are rules in place for visitors to the ICU:
- Please limit the number of visitors in the patient’s room
- While visiting, please stay in the patient’s room or in the waiting area so other patients can have their privacy and quiet resting time
- Please be quiet when you’re in the ICU and do not wake patients
- Flowers, balloons and gifts are not allowed in ICU patient rooms to reduce the risk of infection
- You can bring or send cards to patients
- NMC Health is a tobacco free campus
NMC Health does not restrict, limit or deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Visitors under the age of 12 MUST be accompanied by a responsible adult.
ICU and hospital visitation rules change during specific seasons, such as flu season. During this time, children under the age of 12 are not allowed to visit. This is for the safety of both the patients and the children. Seasonal visitor restrictions will be posted at each hospital entrance.
We ask all visitors to keep in mind that patients are in the hospital due to illness, injury and the need for healing. We ask visits be kept short to allow patients to rest. Visitation may be restricted when desired by the patient or indicated by their condition.
If you or your loved one is struggling with their time in the ICU, please ask to speak with one of our licensed social workers. They can help you cope with the emotions of being in the ICU or having a family member who needs critical care.
NMC Health also offers hospital chaplains (ministers, priests and rabbis) to visit with you and your family. Your own church and religious leaders are welcome to come sit with you. We also have a chapel located in the middle of the medical center where you can meditate. If you need help finding a minister of faith for any denomination, please let us know.
When entering the ICU, please check in at the nurses’ station before going into a patient’s room.
What to expect when you visit the ICU
When visiting the ICU, you may see equipment like monitors, pumps, tubing and other medical devices to help patients recover. Please do not touch anything unless instructed to do so by nursing staff.
These machines monitor the patient’s vital signs including their heart rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure. If they have a tube in their mouth, it’s attached to a device called a ventilator, that is helping them breathe. Ventilators prevent the patient from talking. Like most hospital patients, you’ll also see a small tube in their arm or hand, hooked up to a bag of fluids. That is an IV that gives them fluids and medicines.
Alarms and bells may occasionally sound. Generally, these alert staff to normal changes in the patient or the equipment. Please do not panic as the staff will respond quickly to the patient’s needs.
Our main goal in the intensive care unit is to provide the best care possible to your loved one. Rest assured that each of our staff has been specially trained to care for those in the ICU. Many of them hold special credentials for an increased level of care.
How do I contact the ICU?
We recommend you have one person in your family be the main contact. That person will be updated by the doctor and nurses. Friends and family can, in turn, call that person for information on the patient’s condition.
Immediate family is welcome to call the ICU day or night; however, frequent calls are discouraged. Please try not to call during shift change, between 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Our waiting room is located just outside the ICU. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All friends and family are welcome to wait there. To maintain the privacy and dignity of our patients, you may be asked to wait in the waiting room during certain procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
There is no set time limit for a patient to be in the ICU. Each patient will recover from his or her injuries and illnesses at a different rate. We encourage families to try to remain positive and take each day one day at a time. Our staff ensures excellent, attentive, around-the-clock care for each patient in the ICU.
Sometimes patients in the ICU might be unconscious or in a deep sleep. We can’t say for certain that they can hear us. Medicines can have an effect on whether the patient can respond to voices or touch, so we recommend speaking to the patient as if she or he can hear you. It’s always good to feel someone’s presence, even if you can’t communicate with them. Usually, patients find physical touch comforting, but please ask the nurse first.
Each patient will be seen by a doctor at least once a day or more if their condition requires it. Depending on how many patients need to be seen, a doctor’s schedule can change. If you have a question about the care of your loved one, please ask the nurse. They’ll be able to answer most of your questions and can relay messages to the doctor.
At NMC Health, our goal is to limit a patient’s pain as much as possible. Nurses will watch a patient’s physical cues, vital signs and expressions to determine if they might be feeling pain. Pain medicine can be given to make sure the patient is comfortable.