During and after a stay in ICU

Staying in ICU

Patient care

  • Our multidisciplinary team of nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, administrative staff and support personnel provide 24 hour care to our patients.
  • Intensive care offers highly technical support for our critically ill patients and they will have lots of equipment and monitors attached to them and around them.
  • Due to the intense nature of the care we provide, our medical and nursing staff numbers remain constant throughout the day with little difference between day, night and weekends.
  • At times it will be necessary to ask you to wait outside when we have to attend to patients or procedures. When this happens, please return to the waiting room. You can buzz to come back in after the given timeframe.
  • Sometimes our patients may leave the unit for a long period of time to undergo a procedure such as a CT scan, angiogram or go to the operating theatre.

Supporting you

  • We aim to meet with you regularly to keep you informed about your loved ones progress.
  • We will update you on your loved ones care, explain treatments, give you timelines and offer guidance. The bedside nurse is there to help you with these matters.
  • We ask that you nominate one family member as the contact person. This is to ensure consistent information is provided and enables the bedside nurse to focus on the patient and not be distracted by a large number of calls.
  • Our social workers are available to provide advice and support.
  • Our staff have experience caring for patients of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Please let us know if you have any special requirements.
  • The ICU is an open unit and other patients will be visible. You may see things that disturb or upset you. If you feel faint or unwell, please notify the closest staff member immediately.


  • Explanation and consent for all operations, procedures and treatments is required for all patients.
  • We will make sure information provided through the consent process is understood by the patient and where appropriate by their carers or family.
  • You may be asked to make a decision if your family member is unconscious and needs emergency treatment.
  • The Powers of Attorney Act and the Guardianship and Administration Act allow carers or family to provide consent when the patient lacks the capacity to consent.

ICU research

You may be asked if your family member can participate in current research studies and reviews being performed in ICU. You will have time to read about the research and ask questions. Involvement in research is voluntary and you may withdraw your relative from participation at any time.

Visiting hours

  • We allow visits throughout the day, however during 1.30pm to 3.30pm visiting is only allowed under exceptional circumstances. This is for patient management and rest. Please talk to our medical or nursing staff.
  • Please note, sometimes visitors will be asked to leave the patient’s bedside due to patient care, doctor or nursing handovers and general operational duties within ICU.
  • As space is limited at the bedside, we allow 2 visitors at a time.
  • Children are welcome to visit. Please talk to our nursing staff or social workers before bringing children in to make sure there is support.
  • Please switch mobile phones off before you walk into ICU as it can interfere with our medical equipment.
  • We do not permit food, drinks, mobile phones, recording devices or photos to be taken into the unit.
  • Our visitor information page has more information including where to park and available food and drinks.

Infection prevention

Patients in ICU are very unwell and their condition makes it easier for them to pick up infections. The infection can cause a patient’s condition to worsen and increase their time in ICU or in hospital. It is important that visitors follow our hygiene rules:

  • when you first walk into ICU, please use the hand sanitiser provided at the entry
  • please wash your hands each time you arrive and before you leave
  • you may be asked to wear a gown and gloves while visiting. For your own safety, you must wear shoes at all times
  • please do not bring flowers, plants and large fluffy toys into the unit
  • if you are unwell, please ask the nurse if it is suitable for you to visit.

After ICU

The majority of our patients are transferred to a ward when they are no longer critically ill. There is no doubt that there will be anxiety over the move for many people. Please talk to us about your concerns. Remember, this is a move in the right direction because:

  • a patient’s transfer to the ward is always carefully planned. The patient will be placed in the best position for observation and treatment
  • there is generally less noise and fewer interventions on the ward. This means patients will have a better routine of night time sleep.

On the ward

  • Nurses on the ward care for up to 4 patients at a time. Please understand that your loved one has been moved to the ward because they no longer need one-on-one critical care.
  • This is a time when you can become more active in your loved ones care. You can help with feeding, reading and providing positive company for your loved one.
  • Social workers can help you cope with the stress of hospitalisation as well as provide strategies for dealing with longer term issues.
  • You can find out about hospital meal times, general visiting hours, and much more.

Leaving hospital

Decisions regarding discharge from hospital will be made by the medical team responsible for the patient’s care in ICU or on the ward. This will include information provided by other health professionals involved in the patient’s care. Here is some important information that will help you and your family member prepare for discharge.


Contact us

Department of Intensive Care Medicine
Location: Level 2, Main Building, Redcliffe Hospital
Phone: (07) 3883 7777