INTENSIVE CARE UNIT
YRMC’s Intensive Care Units (ICUs), also called the Critical Care Units, is where
our patients receive constant care and close monitoring with state-of-the-art equipment.
At YRMC West, we have one 8-bed ICU for medical and surgical patients, and a second
8-bed CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit) that specializes in the care of
cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgical patients. At YRMC East, we offer an 8-bed
ICU for medical and surgical patients. In all of our ICUs, a minimum 1:2 nurse-to-patient
ratio is maintained at all times, with a nursing assistant on duty every shift.
We understand and appreciate that it’s very difficult having a loved one in intensive
care, and do our best to make the experience as stress free as possible.
- Visiting time starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Patient rest periods are from
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and visiting is discouraged during these
times. If patient care of any type is being performed, or unit activity is at a
heightened level, you may be asked to leave. Your cooperation is expected and appreciated.
You will be allowed to return as soon as possible.
- Visiting is limited to two (2) persons in the patient’s room at one time.
- Children under the age of seven are not permitted.
- No visiting from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to allow for nursing shift change.
- Please hold phone calls concerning patient status until after 8:30 a.m. to allow
for the nursing shift change. This allows nursing staff to provide you with better
- Patients up to age 16 may have one (1) parent or parental designee stay (and sleep)
in the patient’s room at all times.
- No other sleeping in patient rooms, at any time.
- Cell phones are allowed, but not encouraged. Please put cell phones in silent
notification mode so they do not disturb the patients.
- Please limit the sending of flowers and plants to one small arrangement, as space
is very limited in patient rooms. After the patient is transferred out of ICU, flowers
may be sent.
- If the patient is in isolation, all of your personal items must be left outside
of the patient’s room. Preferably, these items will be left outside of the ICU/hospital
with other family members or in your car. This helps us protect your loved one,
other patients and family members from germs.
- If the patient is sleeping during a visitation hour we may request that you not
visit at that time. Our patients need to get as much sleep as possible so that they
may return home as soon as possible.
As always, some exceptions to visitation guidelines need to be made and are handled
on a case-by-case basis. They include but are not limited to:
- The imminent death of a loved one.
- The withdrawal of life support and the expectation that death will occur within
the next 24 hours.
- Severe impairment of mental status that has yet to respond to medical treatment.
- Language barrier without an available translator.
- Hearing impairment that does not respond to known prosthetic devices and/or a patient
who doesn’t read lips and requires a sign language interpreter.
INSIDE THE ICU
The ICU is a busy place and your loved one may look or act differently than he or
she normally would. Be prepared to see a lot of wires, tubes and equipment. Your
loved one may be unconscious or asleep; may have pale, flushed or ashen skin; and
may look puffy or swollen, especially in the face, hands and feet. He or she may
also feel cold or hot and clammy to the touch. This is the body's normal reaction
to stress, low blood pressure, some medications and some illnesses. Also be prepared
- Alarms. Alarms on monitors will sound to alert the nurse when something needs
to be checked. Alarms are not always cause for concern. Sometimes, patient movements
may sound an alarm.
- IV Lines and tubes. Your loved one will have one or more IV (intravenous)
lines and tubes. IV lines allow for the administration of medications and/or nutrition.
Some measure blood or heart pressure. Don’t worry if you see air bubbles in the
lines. All lines and tubes are closely monitored.
- Tests and treatments. Tests and treatments are conducted frequently, and
at these times you may be asked to leave the room. Blood may also be drawn frequently,
but don’t worry. The body contains a large volume of blood and soon replaces any
blood that is drawn.
- Pulse oximetry. This measures the oxygen saturation of the patient’s blood.
The probe is a small red light located on the finger, earlobe, forehead or bridge
of the nose.
- Anthrombic stockings. These special stockings may be applied to the lower
extremities to help prevent blood clots.
- Medication. Your loved one may receive several types of medications, which
can cause sleepiness, nausea or confusion. Medications can include antibiotics,
sedatives and painkillers. Let the nurse know if your loved one seems to be in pain.
- Restraints. Restraints must sometimes be used to prevent your loved one from
pulling out tubes and wires. They are usually applied to hands, and rarely to feet
or the chest. The nurse may allow you to remove them during your visit. If so, you
need to watch carefully and keep your loved one from pulling on any tubes or wires.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Appoint a family spokesperson to serve as a link between the family and the medical
- Establish a code word (chosen by the patient if he/she is able) to be used
by family members or friends with whom you wish to have the patient’s medical condition
discussed. Be selective – everyone with the code word will have access to all of
the patient’s medical information.
- Remember to take care of yourself. Very competent staff is taking care of your loved
one. He/she needs rest most of all, and so do you. Eat healthy foods and arrange
family visits in shifts.
YRMC MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM
Although we work as a team, each of the healthcare professionals caring for your
loved one has special knowledge and skills. Doctors plan your loved one’s care.
Nurses do most of the hands-on care and monitoring. Others who may be on the care
- Respiratory Therapists (RT) treat breathing difficulties and manage respiratory
- Physical therapists (PT) and Occupational therapists (OT) help patients
improve strength and flexibility.
- Dieticians give advice about special eating concerns and nutritional support.
- Social workers and case managers help the family with financial concerns,
resources, insurance and long-term care assistance or placement.
- Pharmacists help monitor medications that patients receive.
- Clergy offer spiritual support to patients and family.
FREQUENTLY USED TERMS
ABG: Arterial blood gas is a measurement of oxygen, carbon dioxide and acid
in the blood, which is used to monitor how the lungs are working, with or without
Arterial Line: A special IV (intravenous) site that allows continuous monitoring
of a patient’s blood pressure and also allows us to draw blood for lab work.
Central Line: An IV line that is inserted into a vein in the neck, chest
or groin. It allows medication or special feeding to be administered to the patient.
EKG or ECG: Both are abbreviations for electrocardiogram, a monitoring test
that provides information about heart rate and rhythm.
ET Tube: A plastic tube that is passed through the mouth or nose into the
windpipe. It assists in breathing and allows removal of secretions from the lungs.
While the tube is in place the patient cannot talk.
Feeding Tube: A small flexible tube that is inserted into the nose or mouth
and goes to the stomach or small intestine, for providing nutrition or medication.
Foley tube: A tube that is inserted into a patient’s bladder to allow urine
removal and collection.
Hemodialysis: If a patient’s kidneys fail to work adequately, he or she may
be placed onto a dialysis machine, which will gently cleanse the blood. This is
done through a special IV catheter placed in the patient’s neck, chest or groin.
Intubated: When a patient has either an ET Tube or Tracheostomy.
Naso-Gastric Tube: A plastic tube that is passed through a nostril and into
the stomach to empty stomach contents and prevent vomiting. Sometimes used to administer
medications or nutrition.
NPO: This designation signifies that a patient is not allowed to take anything
(ice chips, water, food, etc.) by mouth.
PA Line: Sometimes called a SWAN-Ganz catheter, this allows direct measurement
of pressure in the heart and provides information on how a heart is functioning
and the patient’s fluid volume status; i.e., is the patient dehydrated or overloaded.
PCA: Patient controlled analgesia, or PCA, is a pain medication device that
allows patients to safely administer their own pain medication whenever it is needed.
Suctioning: The removal of secretions from the lungs or mouth.
Tracheostomy: The trachea is commonly known as the windpipe. In this procedure,
a surgical incision is made into the trachea, into which a tracheostomy tube is
placed and through which a patient will breathe.
Ventilator: This machine is attached to the patient via the ET or the tracheostomy
tube, to help the patient breathe.