How Will the Patient Look?

It can be stressful to have a loved one in intensive care. You may be worried about what he or she will look like, what all the tubes and monitors are for, and if the patient is comfortable and free from pain. The bedside nurse can help explain the equipment and medications being used to treat and support the patient. We encourage you to ask.

Patient in the ICU

The patient shown in the picture on the right, has a small tube in her nose that is secured with tape. This tube goes into her stomach. These tubes can be used for feeding the patient, removing stomach contents or for administering medications.

The patient also has a tube in her mouth, secured with special tape. This tube is called an endotracheal tube (ETT) and sits in her breathing tube, just above the lungs. It is connected to a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator), that helps her breathe or takes over the work of breathing.

You can also see several wires that are connected to a monitor at the bedside which monitors the patients heart rate.

For more information about different body systems and supports that may be used, please refer to the Guide to Patient Care.