The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler :: Intensive Care Unit
Medical & Surgical Intensive Care
Important Information for Families and Friends
You’re here because your family member or friend has been placed in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). An Intensive Care Unit can be a frightening place because your loved one may be surrounded by machines and strange sounds, and the time you are able to spend with him or her may be limited. It might help you to know exactly what an Intensive Care Unit is – how it is different from a typical hospital unit and how your loved one can benefit from being in our ICU.
ICU Direct Line: 903-877-7125
The Purpose of an Intensive Care Unit
The staff that will care for your loved one in our Intensive Care Unit is a committed and very skilled team made up of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and other health care professionals who are specially trained to take care of critically ill patients. They are able to make quick decisions for their patients with the goal of keeping them comfortable and stable.
Your family member or friend has been placed in our ICU because his or her condition requires constant and careful monitoring by our health care team. Once your loved one improves, and close observation and monitoring are no longer necessary, he or she will be discharged, moved to a regular hospital room, or transferred to another facility.
Checking on the Patient’s Status
The ICU staff is committed to communicating with you about the condition of your loved one. To avoid confusion, we suggest that you select one spokesperson to represent your family in communicating with your loved one’s team of caregivers. The direct line to the ICU is 903-877-7125.
A telephone is provided in the ICU Waiting Room for making local calls. The phone number is 903-877-5109.
Communicating with the Patient
Communication with seriously ill patients can be limited and sometimes difficult. Even if your loved one is unable to talk to you, be sure to keep them informed about what is going on with family, friends, and current events. Be positive and supportive. A familiar voice and reassuring touch can bring them great comfort.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires us to provide security and privacy regarding patient information. When admitted to the hospital, the patient’s name will be placed in the hospital directory unless otherwise requested. This information will include the patient’s location within the hospital and general condition.
Patients are provided with a copy of the UT Health Northeast Notice of Privacy Practices upon admission to the hospital. If the patient is brought in under emergency circumstances, he or she will not be listed in the hospital directory, and no patient condition report will be listed until the family gives permission to do so.
Infection Control & Safety
The spread of infection can be a dangerous situation within an Intensive Care Unit. To help stop the spread of infection, we ask that you please wash your hands before and after each visit with your loved one or use the hand sanitizer gel, which is located outside of every patient room.
Patient Personal Items
The patient is allowed to have a toothbrush, comb, and deodorant at his or her bedside. We do not recommend that the patient have money, jewelry, a watch, a wallet, a purse, or other items of value. The hospital cannot be responsible for any valuables kept in the patient’s room. No flowers or plants are allowed in the ICU. Cards, calendars, pictures, and small balloons are welcome.
Visitation is so important to the healing process of a patient. At the same time, the patient must have a calm and quiet environment to rest and recover. While visitation is primarily for the immediate family, others are allowed to visit with the permission of the patient or next of kin.
Visiting hours are around the clock at the top of every even hour for 20 minutes — for example, 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., etc .— and is limited to two visitors at a time.
After the 8 p.m. visitation is over, we strongly encourage you to go home because both you and your loved one need a good night’s sleep. We will ask you to provide a home or cell phone number where you can be reached.
If conditions in the unit and the best interests of the patients require it, visitation times may be delayed or canceled by the charge nurse.
Children in the ICU
Visiting an ICU, and even an ICU waiting room, can be overwhelming to a child. If you have determined it is appropriate for your child to visit your family’s friend or loved one, please request prior nursing approval for children under 12.
While visiting your friend or loved one, we ask that children not be left unattended in the ICU or in any hospital waiting area.