The Critical Care Team
Physicians, social workers, therapists, technicians and critical care nurses are all a part of the team that cares for the critically ill.
Critical care nurses are specially trained to care for patients with serious or complex illnesses. In addition to carrying out patient care as directed by doctors, the critical care nurse is responsible for managing all of the patient’s needs. This includes medication-giving, nutrition, oxygenation, activity, sleep and rest, education, and psychological support. The nurse(s) caring for your loved one will be happy to explain the special care that is being provided.
While in the hospital, the "attending or primary doctor" is in charge of overseeing the care given to the patient.
In the ICU, the patient’s care will be directed by an Intensivist, a doctor who specializes in critical care medicine. They will communicate with the patient’s primary care physician and other health team members. From time to time, the Intensivist may wish to speak to family members or be available to you to answer your questions. It is not uncommon for several specialty doctors to be involved with patients in the ICU, so at times you may receive different information from two or more doctors. Always ask for clarification when in doubt. Feel free to keep a notebook with questions, etc.
Information for family members of ICU patients
A patient is admitted into the ICU when it is the best option for their care. The nurses and doctors keep close watch on the patient’s recovery from injury, illness, or surgery and detect possible complications that may occur. If you have questions or concerns about why your family member needs to be in the ICU, ask the physician or nurse caring for your loved one. Family members play an important role in patient care and safety. Our primary goal is to deliver safe, compassionate care to your loved one and we invite you to join us in that endeavor.
The ICU nurses can be flexible in working with you and your family. If one of your family members has a special need, please talk to the nurses about it.
Having a loved one in a critical care unit can be an anxious and confusing time. It is a time when many families feel helpless. We hope the information below will be helpful in answering some of your questions during this difficult time. If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask any member of our health care team.
Select a family spokesperson
Due to Federal regulations and privacy laws, the information we can provide about patients is limited. Only one individual can be the contact person for the patient. If the patient has a health care proxy, it is preferred that the proxy acts as the family spokesperson. We understand that families want information about their loved one, and the contact person for the patient is the one who can obtain and give out information to the rest of the family. An ICU nurse will provide our phone number to this individual so he or she may call to inquire about the patient’s condition.
How you can help your loved one
We want you to feel comfortable talking to our nurses about your loved one’s care. Facts about medications, allergies, and the names of any private doctors are very important. The nurses can help you contact the doctor about questions or concerns you may have.
A hospital social worker is available to assist with emotional support and any other social work needs you may have. The nurses can assist you in contacting them if needed.
Take care of yourself during this time. Your loved one needs your support. You will be most helpful if you eat healthy meals and are well rested.