Intensive Care Unit
- Medical/Surgical Intensive Care
- Isolation Unit
- Teletrace Service
- Intermediate Care
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Trained Staff
What is Intensive Care?
It is around the clock, highly specialized care for people who are seriously ill or injured or recovering from surgery or other treatment. Our goals in the ICU are to stabilize the patient’s condition, prevent new complications, and provide treatment to help the patient achieve the fullest possible recovery
Teamwork in the ICU
Our patient care team includes trained nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, a dietician, a social worker, physical and occupational therapy, diabetic educator, laboratory, and radiology personnel. This team is able to provide advanced medical care using specialized equipment and knowledge.
Equipment you may see in the ICU
Monitor – Displays the patient’s vital signs. These may include: blood pressure, breathing rate, heart rate and rhythm, and temperature.
Suction – These tubes help remove fluids from the nose, mouth, and lungs.
Ventilator – A machine that may be needed to help the patient breathe. The tube in the patient’s mouth makes impossible for the patient to speak.
BiPap – A machine like the ventilator except the patient wears a mask and the patient must be breathing on their own.
Drainage Tubes – Drain fluids from a wound or body cavity.
Feeding Tubes – A tube through the nose or implanted surgically in the abdomen that provides nutrition if the patient cannot eat.
Cathethers – Tubes inserted into the body for one of several possible functions. For example: Bladder catheters remove urine. Other types allow removal of blood samples and deliver medications.
Intravenous (IV) Lines – Usually inserted in the arm, neck, or torso. Carries fluids, medications, and nutrients to the patient. Pumps control the rate of delivery.
Alarms frequently sound from normal body movements. Please do not be afraid if you hear an alarm. It is normal to be a little unsettled by the equipment and the noise, but it is required to assist in providing the best care possible for your loved one.
PLEASE do not touch the equipment or silence the alarms – ask the ICU staff for assistance if needed.
Communication is key!
- Please inform the nursing staff of the patient’s likes, dislikes, and concerns.
- It is VERY important for the ICU staff to have a complete list of medications – name of medications, dosage, frequency taken and when they take it. Occasionally we may need to use the patient’s own medication.
- Each patient has the right to:
- Be informed about their care
- Have their concerns addressed
- Make their needs known
- Receive or refuse care according to their wishes
- Express their feelings
- Report a grievance for a complaint or concern
- Each patient will have an individual ‘code’. This will be provided upon admission to ICU. This is used to provide patient information to others – especially when calling on the phone. This identifies you as someone who the patient is okay having the staff provide protected health information to.
- Please pick one family member, if possible, to be the spokesperson to speak with the nurse and/or physician and to keep the family informed. That person is encouraged to call anytime, day or night. The ICU staff needs to have ALL phones numbers to reach family in an emergency. These include: home, cell, and work numbers.
- Write down questions and topics for discussion in advance. This helps ensure they will be addressed.
- Clergy, priests, or other spiritual leaders are welcome to offer spiritual support/comfort to the patient and family.
- The ICU can be a stressful place for everyone. This is not the time to add more stress. Respect and courtesy between the patient, their family and ICU staff promotes communication, decreases stress, and promotes healing.
- We will do our best to have current information and care posted to the white boards in the patient’s room.
- Visitors are temporarily restricted due to COVID-19. Exceptions may apply under certain circumstances.
- Visitors are limited to 1-2 people at one time. This may be modified depending on the patient condition, unit census, and nurse discretion.
- You are encouraged to go home at night to rest. You need to take care of yourself too!
- We generally do not allow family members to spend the night in the patient rooms. Exception: One parent may stay with a pediatric patient.
- You may stay in the ICU waiting room. Ask the staff if you need a blanket and/or pillow.
- If the room curtain is closed – please check with the nurse before entering.
A visitor may be asked to leave ICU if:
- You are obviously ill
- Your visit is causing a detrimental change in vital signs or increased stress/agitation to the patient
- You are creating an unsafe environment for the patient or the ICU/WNH staff
- Being disruptive to other patients and/or other visitors in the ICU
- The patient requests no visitors or limits visitors
Patient Rest Periods – our bodies heal when we sleep. We may ask you to come at a later time if the patient is sleeping. Our patients need their sleep!
The ICU will be CLOSED to visitors during the following times:
- During shift change: 6:45am to 8am and 6:45pm to 8pm.
- Admission to the ICU – the ICU staff will have the family at the bedside as soon as possible.
- During certain procedures that require the area to be as sterile as possible.
- When a need for privacy exists (procedures, patient care activities, etc. This may be at the patient/family request or ICU staff discretion.
- An emergency procedure or if there is a change in the condition of other patients in the immediate area.
William Newton Hospital is not responsible for lost visitor items.
We keep our unit as clean as possible! We ask you observe and follow these requests:
- Sanitize your hands before entering and after leaving the room. A loving touch is a great way to communicate to your loved one.
- Visitors are not allowed in the ICU kitchen.
- NO live plants, flowers or latex balloons due to potential allergies or breathing problems.
- Cards, Mylar balloons, pictures are welcome
- If the patient is placed in “Isolation” – visitors are expected to follow the precautions posted on the door.
- Food and Drink – you may bring in a covered drink. Please limit amount of food. You may be asked to remove some items if it interferes with patient care. There may be the occasional exception for the patient to have food brought in by the family. Please check with your nurse.
- Children – No children under 8 years of age. For children 9-12 years of age, speak with the ICU nurse. Exceptions may be made for a brief visit for children of all ages in case of end-of-life situations or other special circumstances. When a child is visiting, an adult must be present at all times and directly supervising the child.
- Please do not keep valuables in the patient rooms or the ICU waiting room.
Advanced Medical Directives
Advance Medical Directives are legal documents that help ensure that a patient’s wishes are followed. Patients and loved one might consider the benefits of:
A living will – This allows the patient to state his or her wishes for care. Later, if the patient cannot speak for themselves, the living will serves as a guide for healthcare providers.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare – This allows the patient to name someone to make healthcare decisions in the event that patient is unable to do so. Patients usually appoint a primary DPOA for Healthcare and 2 alternates. It is important to discuss healthcare wishes/treatment with the DPOA. DNR/AND – Do Not Resuscitate/Allow Natural Death. This is a document that specifies your wishes regarding what type of measures you would like the healthcare team to provide if you stop breathing and/or your heart stops.
These may include:
- Breathing for you with a bag-mask device, placing a breathing tube in your windpipe, and using a ventilator to provide breaths
- Pushing hard on your chest to pump the blood throughout your body to create a pulse
- Certain medications to re-start your heart
- Applying electricity to your chest to stop a heart rhythm that is not effective in generating a heart beat
About Advanced Medical Directives:
- Apply only if the patient cannot make his or her own decisions
- Can be cancelled or changed by the patient at any time
- Should be shared with healthcare providers before a health crisis occurs
- Advance Directives and Living Will forms are available at WNH
- They may be completed and notarized here in the hospital
- Copies should be kept at the hospital, the Primary Care Physician’s office, with the DPOA and alternates. The patient should keep the original.
- You always have the right to change an Advance Directive. Make sure everyone affected is aware of the change.