Visit Your Loved Ones
Family members and friends are encouraged to visit loved ones during their hospital stay. Visiting hours vary in each department, so we encourage you to check with admission or the main desk prior to visiting to make sure your visit occurs at the most appropriate time. See our Healthy Advice Patient Information Guide
ICU Visitor Guidelines
Entering the ICU
Family visitation is important, but in the best interest of the patient, please be aware that visits are regulated by ICU staff. Please use the phone by the door to call the unit before each visit. Calling back to announce yourself allows the nurses time to prepare the patient for your visit. There are times you may be asked to wait or unable to visit, due to patient needs.
The healthcare team of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, dieticians and spiritual care providers meet daily to review each patient's plan of care. It is important for them to discuss the needs of each patient in a confidential environment. The nurse may make an exception under special circumstances, however; generally visiting is restricted during this time. ICU rounds usually take place in the morning and are announced over the loud speaker.
What to Expect
Patients in the ICU require intensive nursing care, often utilizing a large ammount of medical equipment to aid in life support functions. Your loved one may have an assortment of equipment, including monitors, hoses and tubing attached to their body. This can be disconcerting to visitors who are unprepared. Please remember that the equipment is an essential part of the care for the patient, and we are doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible.
Recognizing patient privacy, and in compliance with state and federal regulations, we are restricted as to what patient information can be shared. At the time of admission, it is helpful to the staff if one individual is designated as spokesperson. This individual may call to receive updates and pass on information to family and friends. This assures that accurate information is communicated and prevents multiple phone calls and interruptions in patient care.
Please Be Considerate
We understand that you want to spend as much time with your loved one as possible, but please be considerate of other families in the ICU waiting room. Our ICU waiting room must accomodate the families of all of our patients, and we want to make sure that all families have a chance to be comfortable. Space is limited, and due to fire codes, we must ask that only two visitors per patient be in the ICU waiting area at any one time. Special arrangements can be made depending on your situation.
If at all possible, we ask that you refrain from having multiple family members spend the night. We have prepared an emergency lodging guide that should help offer more comfortable alternatives for overnight stays. Many of the establishments in town offer discounts to the families of Yakima Regional patients.
During the day, there are other waiting areas that can accomodate family and friends. On the first floor, there is a small waiting area near the chapel, and the Same Day Surgery waiting area is also available. The cafeteria can also accomodate larger groups during the day.
Please be aware of any children that may be with you in the ICU waiting room. Please supervise children and do not let them play in the ICU, hallways or on the elevators. Unsupervised children may be a distraction to staff members who are trying to care for your loved ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time may I spend with my loved one?
Our number one priority is the wellbeing of our patients and their families. Visits are limited depending on the condition of the patient and his or her care needs. The more critical the patient, the shorter the visit should be. A good rule of thumb would be to limit each visit to 10 minutes, as long as there are not multiple visitors.
Who is able to visit?
Immediate adult family members may visit the patient. Children age 12 and older may visit with their parent's permission. We do not encourage visits from young children because of the risk of infection to both them and to the patient. Seeing a loved one attached to ICU equipment may be traumatizing for young children.
I heard alarms, but no one responded. Why?
Unlike on TV, not all alarms are bad. Some indicate that the patient moved or coughed. Other alarms are set to notify the nurse of important information. If the alarm is serious, you can expect to be asked to leave the ICU and allow the critical care team to respond. Please go to the waiting room where someone will contact you and keep you informed.
Why aren't there phones in the patient rooms?
Patients in the ICU need a protected and safe environment in which to heal. This is the reason for limiting normal activites such as phone calls and visitors. Everything is monitored to assist the patient in healing.
Are flowers and balloons allowed?
No. Despite their beauty, live plants and flowers can carry potentially infectious agents to which your loved one should not be exposed. Latex balloons pose a serious allergenic risk and are not allowed anywhere in the hospital. We do encourage cards, pictures, banners, silk flowers and stuffed animals. Please remember our rooms are small and the staff will need space to care for your loved one.
Where is the restroom and cafeteria?
The restroom is to the left of the ICU doors. The cafeteria is located on the lower level of the hospital, and the espresso bar is in the lobby, across from the gift shop.
Just so you know...
We protect our patients' privacy.
We can only give you information about your loved one's condition if they have given us permission to do so. Although you may be curious about other patients in the ICU, the staff will not be able to give you any information about their condition.
The operator is available.
By dialing "0" from any hospital phone (or 575-5000 from a cell phone), you can reach the hospital operator 24 hours a day. The operator can answer general hospital questions, including cafeteria and/or waiting room locations and hours, or direct you to someone who can answer your question. Please do not call the operator for patient updates. They will not be able to give you any information on your loved ones.
Do not be afraid to touch the patient.
Ask the nurse if there is a concern about disturbing the equipment. A gentle touch is a great way to communicate.
Take care of yourself.
Having a family member in the ICU is emotionally and physically draining. Be sure to eat properly and get enough rest. You will not be able to help your loved one if you become ill.
Religious services are available.
Prayer teams consisting of volunteers from 19 different valley churces are available on Saturdays, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Drop-ins are welcome. Our chapel is located on the first floor near the admissions waiting area.
Help us prevent the spread of infection.
Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you enter and leave a patient's room. Hand washing is an important way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.