Visiting someone in the ICU

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  1. A very good friend of mine was admitted to the neurological ICU unit over the weekend. Her boyfriend called to let me know this afternoon, asking if I also wanted to come visit. Of course I do, but I'm not sure what the protocol is. She's allowed visitors, so I'm assuming she's awake and conscious. Can I bring her something, or is that frowned upon? I'll keep my visit short, since I'll be going at the end of the visiting hours period and so she can get some rest. :sad::hrmm:

    I've never had to visit anyone in the hospital before (I'm a lucky one, I guess! My friends are an amazingly healthy and not very accident prone bunch). TIA!
  2. All hospitals have different policies so I would call and ask.Hope your friend gets well soon!
  3. I'd call and ask the hospital about bringing something.
    I KNOW she'd love a visitor if you can bring her something, maybe a homemade treat would cheer her up.
    I LOVE homemade choco chip cookies!
  4. Generally, patients do not stay in ICU unless they absolutely have to. Judging by that, your friend may not be in a state to show her appreciation for gifts-it really depends on her condition. Once she has recovered she will be sent to another ward anyway. Perhaps it would be better to bring a gift then?
  5. As a physical therapist, I used to work in hospitals..I agree it is a good idea to call first. There are certain visiting hours usually and as far as gifts cards, bears and flowers are usually not a problem.
    Food can be a problem if the patient is on any sort of diet restriction. Some neuro patients have difficulty swallowing so choking is an issue and then they usually have only pureed food for a while. It has been many years since I've worked in a hospital though!
  6. Make sure you call first and find out what the hours are. Also, only stay a short period of time as for the patient 5 minutes can be very exhausting..even though it might seem to you that it is not long enough. And, I don't mean this to sound mean, but don't forget you as the visitor are the least important person there, so mind the nursing staff as they run the unit, thank God for them.
  7. no fresh flowers are allowed in any ICU. call ahead to check on visiting hours.
  8. Like I said it's been many years since I worked in the hospital-my memory might be a little fuzzy!
  9. i hope your friend gets better. it can be frightnening and overwhelming to visit someone in the ICU especially if you have never been to a hospital before especially an ICU. just take it one day at a time and remain optimistic.
  10. Do you know her condition??? ICU in the neurology department sounds pretty serious. You may want to find out if she is in fact conscious.

    The reason I ask is I used to volunteer at a hospital and a few times they asked me to go see a patient and Id walk in all cheery and SO NOT expecting to find them in the condition that I did. It wasn't easy and I wish I was better prepared.
  11. All of the ICUs I have been in have not allowed anything to be brought in to the patient. But the hospital she is in will be happy to tell your their policies and visiting hours.

    They are usually strict with visits in the ICU. Often, family only and for very limited amounts of time. It will be different from a "regular" hospital visit.

    All the best to your friend.
  12. Good luck to your friend! I'd say don't bring anything when you go (Not yet, anyway . . . wait until she goes to the recovery room).

    I found this on a page of guidelines on another hospital's website:

    Bringing Gifts
    Greeting cards are the perfect way to send best wishes to someone in the ICU.

    Unfortunately, live flowers and plants are not. They contain many different bacteria and respiratory irritants that can be harmful to our patients. That is why we can not allow them in the ICU. If flowers or plants arrive in the ICU, we will send them home with the family.
  13. my memory gets fuzzy too from working so many nights:shame: .
    i think they used to allow things brought in at one point but due to infection control, the policies have changed.
  14. i really wouldn't assume this. most of my friends and family are nurses and they tell me nearly everyone gets visiting hours. you have to be basically violent or upsettable before they'll cut you off. not that that should stop you. if she's in and out (or completely out :wondering) she'll still appreciate your visit. research shows that people know others are there and that they care about them. plus, it will be a comfort to the family to know their daughter is loved.

    bringing something is a wonderful idea. unscented lotions, baby powder (taking a shower might be difficult), books, magazines, stuffed animals, cds, movies, etc. are great ideas. avoid balloons and flowers. many hospitals don't allow them anymore because of allergies. try to stay away from food/candy unless you talk to her dr/nurse/family first....sometimes you have to have a special diet or are fasting for a particular test. since she's in the ICU i'd say avoid food. lots of tests are involved in intensive care.

    i hope your friend gets better. my prayers are for her (and you!) in this tough time.
  15. Janos 614 - I work as a nurse in intensive care but in another country (england) so things may be different in the states. She may be concious or unconcious - we still allow visitors to unconcious patients if the imeadiate family are happy with this. If possible it might be good to enquire from her husband whether she is awake or not to prepare yourself. Is she is sedated and hooked up to lots of machines it can come as a bit of a shock so it's good to prepare yourself.

    Usually we do restrict visitors to 2 per bedside so if there are a lot of other visitors be prepared, as has been mentioned, for a short stay and to swap around. Short visits are a good idea - even awake she may be very tired and in an ICU the nurses may have to get into the bedside more than average to adjust machines etc-. ICU nurses are normally very good at explaining things but you may have to go in and out several times if they need to do stuff.Do enquire about visiting hours - we have very strict ones so you don't want to arrive and end up waiting hours for a short visit.