Resource type: Article

Keeping up to date

Who can I ask about my loved one's condition?

The nurse who is looking after your family member will have a very clear understanding of your loved one's condition. She/he will be able to explain things to you in easily understandable language and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

We do understand that visiting a loved one in Intensive Care can be very upsetting and that it can sometimes be difficult to remember what you've been told.Please don't be afraid to ask (the same) questions.It might also help to write things down.

Will someone phone me if something goes wrong?

Yes. We will phone the patient's closest family member (although sometimes this might be a close friend or estranged partner) in the event of a serious deterioration in your loved one's condition. It can sometimes be very difficult for us to work out who this person should be,so please help us by letting us know who we should contact.  

Can I speak with the doctors?

Of course.Please ask the nurse who is looking after your family member to arrange this for you. Let her or him know if you would like to speak to the Consultant overseeing their care, or whether you would be happy to speak with one of the Registrars. It might help you to write down any questions you would like to ask, before you meet with him or her. Please be aware that there may be sometimes be unavoidable delays in speaking with the doctors, especially if the Unit is very busy or if there is an emergency elsewhere.

Phoning the Intensive Care Unit

You can phone the Unit at any time of the day or night. Please be aware that, for reasons of patient confidentiality, we may be able to give only limited or very general information about your loved one's condition.

 Keeping others up to date

Having a family member in Intensive Care can be both distressing and exhausting. You may find that your phone never stops ringing, especially if you have a large circle of family and friends enquiring after your loved one's condition. You might find it helpful to nominate someone to keep everyone else informed on your behalf. Some people find it helpful to do this by email or posting general updates on things like Facebook.Doing these kinds of things will help limit the number of calls to the unit and therefore reduce interruptions to patient care.