Intensive Care Unit
Information for relatives and friends of intensive care patients
The Mater Hospital Brisbane Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialised ward where patients are nursed while they are very ill or need special care and observation.
Medical and nursing staff are specially trained to provide the intensive care that patients require. We acknowledge that you are concerned for your relative. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask the nursing staff.
We aim to provide exceptional care—based on the latest evidence—to critically ill patients and their family and friends. We strive to be recognised as the centre of excellence in supporting patients and relatives during and after their experience with critical illness.
We are committed to ensuring our staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills with which we deliver our Vision in alignment with Mater’s Values of Mercy, Dignity, Care, Quality and Commitment.
Enquiries regarding a patient’s condition
We recommend, and prefer, that one family member be nominated to liaise with ICU staff with regard to patient information. This person can then relay the information to other family members and friends, ensuring everyone has the correct information.
Significant changes in a patient’s condition will be communicated to the nominated next of kin.
Visiting hours are from 10 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 8 pm. The doctors’ ward rounds are from 8 am to 10 am. No visiting is permitted during this time to ensure privacy and confidentiality for all patients.
Immediately after the ward round is the best time to meet with medical staff should you wish to discuss your relative/friend’s care.
The patient rest period is from 1 pm to 3 pm. Relatives are encouraged to leave the unit to rest and recharge at this time. In exceptional circumstances, other visiting arrangements can be made with the Nurse Unit Manager.
Due to space and privacy restrictions, a maximum of two visitors per patient are allowed in the unit at one time.
We are constantly attending to patients; therefore there may be times when you are asked to wait until procedures are finished before visiting. Please press the buzzer outside the unit to ask whether it is a convenient time to visit.
We ask that mobile phones are switched off during your visit as they can interfere with medical equipment in the unit.
The role of relatives and friends
Rest is essential in a patient’s recovery. Visiting is restricted to people the patient considers to be immediate family. Children may visit at the discretion of the Team Leader or Nurse Unit Manager.
To help reduce the risk of infection in the unit, please wash your hands when entering and leaving.
As relatives and friends of an ICU patient, the best thing you can do is be there, provide support and let them know you care. It is okay to touch a patient, hold their hand and talk to them—although they may not be able to respond, they can usually hear and feel you.
All patients in the ICU are connected to a heart monitor located above the bed. This monitor displays the patient’s heart rhythm, which can be observed and recorded by the nurse at the bedside. Other special items of equipment may be in use and can be explained on request.
Only essential items are required for patients in intensive care. These include:
- a nightdress or pyjamas
We strongly recommend that patients do not keep any valuables, such as wallets and jewellery, with them while in ICU.
Unfortunately, flowers and large gifts such as stuffed toys and balloons are not permitted in ICU as they take up valuable space and can interfere with equipment. If you would like to give a gift, please limit it to greeting cards or framed photos.
Waiting rooms in ICU
These rooms are available for your use. Mobile phones can be used in the confines of the room as long as they are switched off before entering the ICU. A television has not been supplied as time spent in the waiting room provides an opportunity to support family and friends. We encourage you to take short breaks away from the unit and ensure you get sufficient rest.
A Social Worker is available to assist with:
- counselling and support for patients, families and friends
- practical assistance (e.g. Centrelink benefits, accommodation and assistance schemes for country relatives, emergency childcare).
If you require a Social Worker to assist please advise nursing staff and they will organise an appointment.
A Pastoral Care Worker is available for both patients and their families. Pastoral Carers offer:
- support in crisis—time to listen
- emotional and spiritual support and care (including pastoral counselling)
- help in grief and loss
- prayer and/or the sacraments as the patient or family wishes.
This service may be accessed through the nursing staff, or telephone 07 3163 8111 and ask for Pastoral Care.
The Mater Hospital Brisbane Chapel is located on Level 2, near the main entrance.
There are two hospital car parks on Water Street and Raymond Terrace. A fee is charged to use these car parks however; if you are experiencing financial difficulty, alternative arrangements may be made through the Ward Receptionist.
We are involved in a variety of quality activities in the unit (e.g. monitoring the experiences of patients and relatives during their stay). We may ask you to provide feedback about our progress via a survey.
A useful website for information about patients and relatives who have experienced critical illness is www.dipex.org.
Intensive Care Unit
Level 5, Salmon Building
Mater Health Services
Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane Q 4101
Phone 07 3163 8111
© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.
Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: HOSP-001-00525
Last modified 16/11/2015.