Support for ICU Families
Medical Social Work
Many support services are provided through our Medical Social Work department. Our social workers provide families with emotional support and information about finances, insurance and care after leaving the hospital. They are a great resources to answer questions about how a patient will adjust to life after hospitalization.
Pastoral & Spiritual Care Services
We believe that a stay in the Intensive Care Unit can touch the lives of our patients and their families at their deepest emotional and spiritual levels. Chaplains associated with our Spiritual Care department have both pastoral and clinical experience and are here to support you. They are available to be present with you, listen, offer prayer or Sacrament according to your beliefs, provide assistance with health care decisions or simply to assist with communication or help orient you to the hospital. Chaplains are available for emergencies 24 hours a day.
It is appropriate to say a word about dying. Our desire is to heal. However, physical healing is not always possible. Death is the natural conclusion to human life and an experience we all will share.
Sometimes an illness or injury is so severe that the treatment designed to promote healing is, instead, prolonging death. If the course of care shifts from healing to maximizing comfort and relieving pain, you will not be alone. Medical staff will explain the options, and our caring team of professionals will be available to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs of you and your loved one.
Does the patient have an Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive allows a person to document treatment wishes. Please inform the nurse if your loved one has an Advance Directive so that a copy can be placed in his or her medical record. This document will be consulted in the event that the patient becomes unable to communicate. We encourage you to take this time to complete your own Advance Directive. Please let the staff know if you would like assistance.
How will you keep us informed?
Generally our nurses will have the most current information regarding the patient’s care. Please feel free to ask questions and voice your concerns. The staff will do its best to address them.
Physicians usually make their hospital rounds (visits) each morning before visitors arrive. If you have not been able to speak to the physician directly, please let the nursing staff know.
How can we keep others informed?
We ask that each family designate a spokesperson. This person will be the one to speak with the nurses and physicians and relay that information to other family members. This allows nurses to spend more time at the patient’s bedside.
Phone are available in the waiting room. Please dial 9 and the area code for outside calls. Check the Guide to Guest Services inside every patient room for information on long distance calls. Use of cellular phones is prohibited in the ICU.
Taking care of yourself
Our care and concern extend to our patients’ families, too. Please eat well, rest and take breaks or walks. For quiet moments of prayer or reflection, the hospital chapel (on the second floor above the main lobby) celebrates Catholic Mass Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
Please check the online Guide to Guest Services for more complete information about your loved one’s hospital stay. That same guide is found in every patient’s room. Our online Healthwise Knowledgebase is a good source for comprehensive, current, evidence-based and unbiased health care information.