A Patient's Guide to Heart Surgery: A Guide for Visitors
Visiting the Patient in the ICU
As soon as the surgery is complete, the surgeon will meet with you with an update, or to answer any of your questions. You will need to wait two hours after the surgery before you can visit the patient in the ICU (intensive care unit).
Before going to the ICU, you need to check in with the receptionist, who will make sure that your loved one is ready to see visitors. If there is no receptionist, please use the wall phone to call the ICU. While in the ICU, the patient will not be able to receive incoming personal phone calls, but can request for a phone to make outgoing phone calls.
Wash Your Hands
To prevent infection and ensure patient safety, we ask that all visitors to the ICU use the antibacterial foam, located near the patient's bed, to cleanse their hands.
Only two people at a time may visit with the patient right after surgery. Each initial visit should be limited to 5-10 minutes. After your initial visit, you may stay for as long as you want during visiting hours.
The following are not permitted in the ICU:
- Children under age 12
- Food and drinks
- Cameras/video recorders or picture taking
- Cellular phones
Because a patient's condition can change rapidly in the ICU, we may ask you to leave the ICU, depending on the patient's needs.
While Visiting with the Patient
While you are visiting in the ICU, we encourage that you remain calm and supportive to the patient. Make eye contact and provide encouragement. Remember that, although the patient may not show it, he/she hears more than you might think. After checking with the staff, don't be afraid to touch the patient.You will be surrounded by monitoring lights and machines-if you are unsure or have questions about any equipment, please ask the nurse for help.
Please be aware that the medical equipment used in the ICU and CT Unit has alarm settings to alert the healthcare staff to possible changes in a patient's condition. The alarms are very sensitive to the patient's movements and coughing, and may not reflect any real problem.
Because of the surgery, medication, the surroundings, and frequent monitoring by nurses, some patients may experience mild disorientation or confusion while in the ICU. We work hard to decrease or manage this situation, including dimming the lights at night and minimizing nighttime stimulation for the patient. If you have any questions or concerns about patient confusion, please talk to your nurse or doctor.