Visiting Times

Visiting times are normally flexible for family and close friends. For safety reasons we usually restrict the number of visitors around a patient to two at the bedside at any one time.

The best time for routine visiting is often the afternoon or early evening. We recommend routine visiting between 14.30 - 19.30.

Doctors' rounds and procedures such as X-rays are often carried out in the morning so you may be asked to leave your relative's bedside temporarily. We have a patient rest period from 12.00 - 14.30 as too many visitors can be tiring for critically ill patients.

 

Location

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is along the Level 3 corridor linking the outpatients area with the ward block.

 

Entering our ICU

On arrival at the main door of the ICU you will have to press a buzzer (located to the left of the doors) and speak to a member of staff on an intercom to gain entry to the ICU. You will be asked to name yourself and the patient that you are visiting and will be directed either straight into the unit or asked to wait in the Relatives Room.

 

What does our ICU look like?

The ICU at St Peter’s has nine beds, three of which are in separate cubicles. ICUs do not have separate male and female sections but every effort will be made to ensure that privacy and dignity are maintained.

 

What happens when a patient is taken to an ICU?

When a patient is brought to an ICU it can take more than an hour for the doctors and nurses to assess the patient's condition make them as comfortable as possible and attach them to the necessary equipment.

 

It is normal to have to wait during this time. This can be frustrating but it is important that the ICU staff stabilise the patient's condition. A member of staff will explain what is happening as soon as possible.

  

Will I recognise my relative?

Your relative may look very different from the last time you saw them. They may be attached to lots of intensive care equipment by a number of tubes, wires and cables to monitor their condition. 

Patients in ICUs may sometimes appear slightly swollen. The swelling is caused by the treatment the person is receiving and their inability to move. They may also have visible injuries, such as bruises or wounds. This can be upsetting to see, but the doctors and nurses in charge of the person's care will always ensure that they are as comfortable as possible.

When visiting an ICU, many people in the ward may appear to be asleep because they are on painkilling medication (analgesics) and medication that can make them drowsy (sedatives). This type of medication is necessary if the person is unable to breathe on their own because artificial ventilation (where a machine is used to help you breathe) is very uncomfortable without it.

Medical staff who work in intensive care will use the least amount of sedatives possible to maintain comfort. This means people being treated in ICUs may be partially awake some of the time.

The doctors and nurses will be able to tell you what to expect.

 

Can I touch my relative?

Tubes and wires often surround a patient in an ICU. It is usually possible to touch your relative but it is sensible to check with a nurse first.

 

Can I talk to my relative?

Patients in ICUs are often unconscious, at least during the early part of their treatment. This is often because they are being given drugs to make them sleepy and comfortable. A patient may be able to hear even if they cannot respond. Nursing and medical staff will talk to unconscious patients and tell them what is happening. Feel free to talk to your relative and let them know that you are there. 

 

It is normal to feel upset at seeing someone you love in an ICU. It is understandable if you find it hard to cope. The staff are there to answer any questions you may have. You may find it helpful to have someone with you.