What To Expect
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Help keep your family member safe and comfortable

Patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) are usually connected to a variety of lines and monitors. These help staff monitor and assess any change in their condition.

Your family member may not be able to look after themselves. Staff will provide for their basic needs as necessary. Physiotherapists will also work with them to maintain or regain their strength and conditioning while in hospital.

Keeping your loved one safe and comfortable

When visiting a loved one in the ICU, keep the following in mind:

  • Patients are often sedated to keep them comfortable while all the tubes and machines are attached. Use of restraints is sometimes necessary for the safety and well-being of patients.
  • Feel free to speak to your family member. They may still be able to hear you even though they may not look awake.
  • Try to stay calm while visiting and provide the comfort and support they need.
  • Clean your hands before and after visiting your family member. This is essential to prevent the spread of infection. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available throughout the hospital.
  • Do not visit if you are sick. Patients in the intensive care unit are very ill and are more sensitive to outside illnesses. Their condition could worsen if they are in contact with germs.
  • Follow safety precautions, such as wearing gloves, gowns or masks if your loved one is in isolation due to their condition.

Medical care for your loved one

Treatment for your family member includes the following:

  • Routine tests: Patients may need blood tests and x-rays on a daily basis and more often if needed. A variety of other diagnostic tests may be ordered. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine, is a good resource that explains many different types of diagnostic tests.
  • Rounds: The health care team providing care for your family member meets several times a day to review their changing conditions and needs. Visiting may be restricted during this time to maintain confidentiality for all our patients.
  • Family conferences: The doctor will meet informally and formally to update your about your family member's condition and the plan for care. You can request a meeting through a nurse or social worker.

It is often uncertain how long a patient will stay in the ICU. Talk to the doctor about what to expect for your family member’s length of stay.


As a step towards reconciliation, Interior Health acknowledges the land that we live, work, and play on as the traditional territories of the Dakelh Dene, Ktunaxa, Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, St’at’imc, Syilx and Tsilhqot’in peoples. It is with humility that we continue to strengthen our relationships with the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples of the interior.
MoH     PCQO