During a critical illness, patients are often very ill and may be unable to communicate. Visiting is usually limited to individuals who the patient would consider family or close friends. We will ask patients who are awake to define these individuals. When a patient cannot communicate, we rely on the patient's immediate family and/or Substitute Decision-Maker(s) to help us to identify them. We collectively refer to these individuals as the patient's "family".
If you are uncertain whether you should visit a patient while in the Critical Care Trauma Centre (CCTC), please speak to a member of the patient's immediate family.
To protect the privacy and safety of all patients and visitors, we ask that visitors check with the unit clerk, volunteer or nurse before EACH visit.
There is a Unit Clerk available until midnight each day, seven days per week. The unit clerk can be found at the reception desk at the entrance to the CCTC. If the unit clerk is not at the front desk when you arrive to visit, please use the telephone that is located beside the entrance to the patient care area to call into the unit.
On Monday to Friday from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, you will usually find a volunteer available in the waiting room to help you. The volunteer can help to coordinate visiting.
When you visit for the first time, you will be instructed on how to perform hand hygiene. If you are the patient's Substitute Decision-Maker (SDM), your family member's nurse will tell you about the patient's condition and orient you to the patient care area and treatments that you will see. It can feel overwhelming the first few times you visit. Our team understands that this can be very emotional. Please know that we are here to help support you and your family.
You will also be given a copy of the CCTC Family Information Booklet. This provides information about the CCTC team, about patient care routines and about common treatments and conditions. You will also be given a business card that identifies your family member's bed number. It will include direct phone number to the CCTC and the telephone extension to your family member's nurse. You may call this number directly when you wish to visit or when you phone in to receive an update.
If you are the patient's Substitute Decision-Makers (SDM), you may call directly to your family member's nurse for an update. Patient's or their SDM can authorize other family members to receive this information.
We ask that other friends and family contact the patient's substitute decision maker for medical updates.
Hand hygiene is important, please ensure you clean your hand before and after each visit. Waterless hand cleaner is available throughout the unit. Rub this product vigorously into the hands. It is better at killing germs than handwashing with soap and water.