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What to expect in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

The Maitland Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialty area of the hospital where we care for the sickest patients. Caring for our patients and their family and friends is very important to us.

We understand that visiting the ICU can be overwhelming and confusing for anyone. We hope that the information we provide helps explain some of the things you may come across in the Intensive Care environment.

The Intensive Care Unit  is located  on Level 1.

Enter through the Main Entrance, continue straight ahead until you arrive at the lifts on your right.

Take the lifts to Level 1 and follow the signs when you exit to the Intensive Care Unit  (ICU).

Visiting information

  • Visiting is encouraged between 10am – 1pm and 3pm till 8pm.
    • Visiting outside these hours is flexible and can be arranged by phoning the Nurse Team Leader through the switchboard (02) 4087 1000 or after hours through the security at the hospital Main Entrance.
  • On arrival to ICU , press the buzzer and wait for your call to be answered by a staff member.   Sometimes you will have to wait a while because we may be attending to patient care.
  • A waiting room for visitors is available to take a seat in whilst waiting.
  • In general only 2 visitors per patient are allowed at the bedside, however specific requests can be discussed with the Nurse Team Leader or ICU Nursing Managers.
    • We would recommend not bringing children into the Intensive Care. If children would like to visit, this needs to be pre-arranged with the Nurse Team Leader. Children are to remain with their guardian at all times.
    • Visitors are to use alcohol hand gel on arrival and when leaving the unit. This is located at the entrance to ICU.
    • At times you may be asked to wear a mask, gown or gloves to protect yourselves or the patient.
    • If you have flu -like symptoms or are unwell  please do not visit. Alternatively you can phone the Nurse team leader and ask to arrange a phone or Skype call with the patient.


  • Personal information about our patients in Intensive Care is generally not given out over the phone.
  • Caring for patients and their family is very important to us. Our experienced staff will make every effort to provide the best patient care we can for better health outcomes. We encourage you to assist in this process by openly communicating with staff. If you have any concerns, please ask questions or ask to speak with the Nurse Team Leader, Nurse Unit Manager or Intensive Care Medical staff (doctor).
  • If you still feel that your concerns are not being addressed, please call an ‘emergency response’ known as a REACH call on (02) 49…… or 049……. from a bedside phone.

    Patient Care Board

    The board next to each bed on the wall is known as a Patient Care Board. This is a communication tool between patients, visitors and the healthcare team. Please write down any concerns, questions or requests that you may have for staff to address.

What can I bring in ?

A bag of basic toiletries always helps us out – a toothbrush, some toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, some body moisturiser and comb or hair brush.

Personal items such as reading glasses, hearing aids, dentures and home sleep apnea devices (CPAP) are encouraged if the patient uses them.

Providing well-fitting shoes will also help us walk your loved one safely when they are well enough. If your loved one has any specialised mobility equipment such as walking aids or wheelchairs, please advise the Nurse Team Leader to discuss whether this equipment is required whilst they are in ICU.

If your loved one has been here awhile, a favourite book, a magazine or the paper may also be appreciated.

Phones and flowers

Did you know flowers can be an infection risk to our already sick patients? We always have patients in the Intensive Care with lung infections, asthma or pneumonia and the pollens from flowers can make their condition worse. Please feel free to bring in personalised items such as a card, drawing or photo instead.

We do also ask your phones are either off or on silent mode whilst visiting. We ask that mobile phones only be used outside of the ICU bed space. Talking on mobile phones inside ICU can be distracting for staff and people naturally speak louder which can be unsettling for patients and those around.

The NSW Ministry of Health privacy policy prohibits the recording of videos or taking photos of patients in public hospitals who cannot consent to their photograph being taken. In ICU this is the majority of patients and therefore we ask you do not take photos or recordings at the bedspace.

Food and drink

If your loved one is able to eat and drink, please feel free to bring them in something that you know they would like to eat. Please just bring one meal/drink at a time, as we have very little fridge space to store food. Make sure though, that you check with the nursing staff that eating and drinking is OK first. Lots of our patients are not allowed to eat and drink, even though they may look like they can.

We may also ask that you refrain from eating and drinking yourself in the unit as spills happen easily.

ICU waiting room and bereavement room

These spaces are available for the visitors of all patients in ICU, and are not to be used for accommodation purposes. Contact numbers for local accommodation is available upon request.

For your convenience, we have tea/coffee making facilities and a microwave available for our visitors.

Equipment used in the ICU

The equipment in use surrounding the patient can be unexpected and unusual.  The machines and connections often make noises to indicate to staff if a patient's condition changes.

Most commonly the equipment in use are heart monitors and ventilators to assist the patient to breathe. There may also be connections to the patient for fluids in and out, and medications.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the equipment in use ask staff  for more  information.

After ICU

The aim of our service is to stabilise our patient’s condition before transferring them to general surgical/medical or maternity units for ongoing observation and care prior to discharge.

Staff that work in ICU

Care in the ICU is provided by an experienced Intensive Care health team in collaboration with the Medical Officer/ doctor who admitted you to the Maitland Hospital.

Each patient usually has a dedicated nurse to look after them and check the equipment in use.

The Intensive Care team includes:

Health Professionals:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Dietitians
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Social workers
  • Occupational Therapists

Support Staff:

  • Interpreters
  • Support staff including food services, cleaning, administration.
  • Chaplains
  • Volunteers

Making your Stay with Us Safe

Scan the QR code (will need to be added) with your smartphone or device to view “Making Your Stay with us Safe” video. If you don’t have a device, pamphlets on “Making Your Stay with us Safe” are available within the ICU upon request.

Intensive Care Treatment Program

The Intensive Care Treatment Program provides more information on the care we provide in ICU.

Scan the QR code ( need to add) to view this resource. If you don't have a device, booklets are available within the ICU upon request.