Intensive Care Unit
Intensive care, close to home
The goal of Northumberland Hills Hospital's Troop-Alexander Intensive Care Unit is to meet the needs of acutely ill cardiac, medical, or surgical patients requiring intensive nursing and medical care.
The Intensive Care Team includes registered nurses specifically trained in critical care, family physicians, specialists in internal medicine, anesthetists, respiratory therapists, general surgeons, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, hospital volunteers, and others.
While in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), patients have one of six private rooms (including one with negative pressure isolation capabilities) equipped with a state-of-the-art patient bed and private bathroom. Each room in the Unit has the ability to provide:
- Continuous cardiac, respiratory and blood pressure monitoring
- Intravenous connected to an infusion pump to provide fluids, medications and sometimes blood
- Oxygen (administered either by mask or nasal prongs)
- Monitoring with equipment such as catheters, breathing tubes, chest tubes or arterial and central lines
- Ventilators and Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) to assist with breathing
Direct inpatient access to other life-saving diagnostic imaging services such as CT scanning, X-ray, nuclear medicine and (as of fall 2007) Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging, round out NHH's ICU service, together with the hospital's internal Laboratory and Pharmacy support.
The ICU Team and You
At NHH, patients and their families play key roles in the planning and decision-making process. A physician and registered nurse are always available to discuss the treatment plan with patients and family members, and to respond to any questions or concerns that may arise.
Patients will need toiletry items, such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, comb/brush, eye glasses, dentures and shaving supplies while in the ICU. Housecoats and pajamas are generally not needed until the patient is transferred to a regular ward.
Night-time breathing equipment used by the patient on a regular basis [e.g. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or BiPAP] should be brought for use in the hospital. Valuables, including jewelry, wallets and money should not be kept with the patient in the ICU. While the hospital is able to lock items of personal value, it cannot be responsible for items left at the bedside.
Most patients in the ICU are on special diets and/or fluid restrictions, therefore no food or drink is permitted into the ICU without approval from the nurse on duty.
Rest is an important component of healing and well-being for ICU patients. In the spirit of collaboration and respect, we would appreciate the cooperation of patients and their family members in promoting and maintaining the following visitor guidelines:
- Visits are restricited to immediate family members only, with a maximum of two visitors at a time
- Visits are best if limited to five or ten minutes hourly
- A quiet room is located near the ICU entrance, with an intercom system for family to call and speak with the nurses prior to entering the unit to ensure that the patient is able to receive visitors at that time
- Families may be asked to wait in the ICU quiet room during reporting times or if an emergency situation arises
- Children are permitted only under special circumstances
- Clergy members may visit the unit at any time at the request of the patient or the patient's family
Patients are given medications as ordered by their physician. These medications may not be the same medications the patient is taking at home. New medications may be added, and previous medications may be held. Patients should never take any medications unless they are administered by an ICU nurse; this includes vitamins and herbal remedies.
If the hospital is unable to supply a certain medication from the Pharmacy, family members will be asked to bring in the patient's own medication. The medication will be returned upon discharge along with a prescription for any new medications the patient may require. Questions regarding medications are particularly encouraged. Patients and their families should have a solid understanding of the medication being administered and its intended purpose.
Transfers for Further Treatment:
If a patient requires advanced treatment at another facility, they will be transferred by ambulance with a registered critical care nurse accompanying them. The hospital may also use an alternative transfer service when needed. This is a critical care team that specializes in hospital transfers.
Families are expected to designate one representative to call the ICU for condition updates on their loved one. We recognize every family member's concern, however, fewer interruptions allow nursing staff to spend more time at the bedside of all ICU patients. Please provide nursing staff with a telephone number where you can be reached when away from the hospital.
For further information about Intensive Care services at NHH, please contact the Program Director at: 905-372-6811 ext. 3016