Our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is located on the third floor of the hospital. We are committed to delivering highly specialized, personal care to patients who suffer from a serious illness or medical condition. Our staff of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, residents, and physician assistants is specially trained in critical care.
Suggestions for Visiting the Intensive Care Unit
Try to schedule visits at times when the staff will be available to help you. Please inform the unit secretary of your arrival. This will enable your nurse to prepare you on what to expect or to update you on possible changes since your last visit.
- Avoid arriving or calling at the change of shifts:6:50 to 7:20 a.m. and 6:50 to 7:20 p.m. At these times, the nurses are exchanging information and performing their initial assessment, so they may not be readily available to answer your questions.
- To protect you and your loved one, please use the hand sanitizer and necessary personal protective equipment before entering and leaving the patient's room.
- Under certain circumstances, you may be asked to limit the number of visitors at the bedside or step back into the waiting room. Visitors may also be restricted to children over the age of 12.
- While visiting the ICU, please stay in the patient's room. Please do not congregate in the hallways.
- Please do not touch the equipment. If you think that there is a problem with one of the machines, ask your nurse.
- Please do not eat or drink in the patient's room.
- Please do not use cell phones or pagers in the ICU, as they interfere with the function of the equipment.
Taking Care of Yourself
While caring for your loved one, it is also important to take care of yourself. It is important to afford yourself the same care and respect that is being given to your loved one.
- It is important that you take the time for sufficient sleep. The proper amount of sleep will enhance your ability to listen and understand the important information you will be given.
- The ICU staff strongly discourages overnight stays by family. Spending the night only exhausts family members, leaving them tired and ill-prepared to comfort or make crucial decisions for their loved ones.
- It is important that you eat healthy and exercise as much as possible. Exercise is vital to maintaining your emotional health.
- Do not feel you have to be available at every moment. Your loved one is closely monitored at all times, even if a member of the health care team is not present in the patient's room.
Choosing a Family Spokesperson
It can become very overwhelming to try to make contact with everyone. When relaying medical information, it is often helpful to pick a family member to be in charge of getting this information to others, referred to as a family spokesperson. It's vitally important that the whole family knows that they are to seek and relay information through the family spokesperson.
- What Does a Family Spokesperson Do? The family spokesperson acts as a link between the entire family and the health care staff. The role of this person is to contact all of the friends and relatives who need to be updated with the patient's condition.
Why Do We Need a Family Spokesperson? To protect patient privacy, information is often restricted to the family spokesperson. Having a family spokesperson also eliminates frequent calls to the ICU, which prevent the staff from providing care to your loved one. Frequent calls repeatedly draw the staff away the patient, often to answer the same question for various people.
How Do You Identify a Family Spokesperson? This person should be someone who listens well, speaks well and tends to remain calm in a crisis. The person you choose must be able to understand the medical condition to prevent any miscommunication. This person is seldom the most immediate relation to the patient, such as the spouse.
For more information, please call 855-546-0877.
MedStar Harbor Hospital
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225