A Patient’s Routine
Patient Rounds occur each day at 8:30 a.m. An interprofessional team will round on each patient in the ICU. The team is led by the Intensivist and includes the Primary Nurse, Manager, Team Lead, Respiratory Therapist, Physiotherapist, and Pharmacist. At these rounds the nurse provides an overall review of the patient and then each member contributes their clinical expertise.
What happens during rounds?
We examine the patient’s medical issues, treatment plan, and response to treatments. We incorporate the expertise of the many different healthcare professionals to determine the best possible treatment plan for each patient.
We share our plans openly with our patients and their substitute decision-makers. We encourage family to ask questions about the plan or any aspect of your family member’s care. Families are an important part of the team and we value your input.
Bathing, skincare, repositioning and linen changes are all examples of routine strategies to help make patients more comfortable.
Patients are repositioned frequently and skin is inspected to monitor for any signs of skin breakdown. Critically ill patients have many reasons for skin problems, including immobility, low blood flow to the tissue, use of drugs that decrease blood flow to the skin, poor nutrition, edema, moisture (sweating, draining wounds or incontinence), surgery or trauma, rashes, medication and infection.
Patients with breathing tubes will experience a dry mouth. Although they cannot drink when a breathing tube is in place, their lips can be moistened with lubricants and their mouth rinsed with moist sponges.
Suctioning is a procedure that is done to help keep a patient’s airway open and free of mucous. When a patient has a breathing tube in place, they will require intermittent suctioning. The frequency will depend on the quantity and thickness of the secretions.
Family can help by holding the patients hand, talking in a comforting voice or reading favorite stories as this can provide familiarity and reduce anxiety for the patient.
We encourage family to bring a picture of their loved one prior to their injury or illness. This helps us all see our patient as a person beyond their illness.
Rest periods are an important part of the recovery process. The critical care patient needs rest to recover and often stimulation can cause stress to the patient. Speaking in soft tones and allowing the patient to sleep is important. Our patients can often get their days and nights confused, we make every effort to reduce night time stimulation.
Critical care patients are at high risk for deconditioning. With the help of our excellent physiotherapist and equipment we work with our patients and push them to the best of their ability. After a critical illness even the simple tasks can be a challenge and we celebrate milestones throughout our patient’s journey.