Hamilton Health Sciences
Visiting the Intensive Care Unit

Visiting the Intensive Care Unit 

The ICU is open anytime for visiting

It is important that you announce your arrival to ensure the dignity and privacy of all our patients. Please call the ICU using the phone in the Waiting Room by the ICU door.  If you feel unwell, have a cold or other respiratory infection, please do not visit.  Hand sanitizer is to be used upon entering and leaving the ICU.

Hand washing is the single most important defense in a hospital to prevent and control the spread of infection.

Clean your hands:

  • before and after each visit
  • after using the washroom
  • after sneezing or coughing


Waiting Room and Quiet Rooms

The Waiting Room is a comfortable, quiet area in the ICU that all families and visitors can use while they wait.  Please limit the number of visitors at any one time to allow room for other families.  Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

The ICU has 2 rooms that are available for the families of our most critically ill patients.  They allow families in crisis to have a temporary quiet place to rest.



Important Times


The nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists are available 24 hours a day.

You may visit the ICU any time. Mornings and evenings are busy times in the ICU. Nurses and Respiratory Therapists change shifts between 6:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and again at 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Although visiting hours are flexible we remind you that during  change of shifts the staff are communicating to one another important information about their patients. They require this period of time to focus on their reports and may not be available to accommodate visitors. 


If you are visiting during the change of shift times, your visit into the ICU may be delayed.  If possible, please do not call or visit during these 45 minute periods. 

Visitors may be limited to two at a time. The number of times you may visit and the length of visits may be shortened.

Please understand the ICU is unpredictable; things may not always go as planned. This can be frustrating, but we ask for your understanding. Please talk to a member of the ICU team if you need to have more than 2 visitors at one time. Children may visit with an adult. The ICU can be a frightening experience for a child. Please talk to the ICU team so we may help you plan your visit.


We are flexible and will work with you to meet the needs of the patient and your needs. We will always try to keep you informed and involved. 


Sharing information with the ICU team 

In the ICU, people work together as a team to provide care. Family and friends are important members of our team. Please discuss the patient's wishes with the ICU team. Patients have a right to receive and refuse treatments.

Please bring a copy of any documents that might be useful in your loved ones care, such as a list of medications, past history and any advanced directives such as a Living Will or Power of Attorney. 



If your loved one is in an isolation room, please STOP and read the sign posted on the door to the room.  It will tell you what equipment to wear before entering.  Please ask the nurse for help.


We ask that one person be chosen as the family liaison or the main contact. This person will act as the main family contact or spokesperson. The ICU team will speak to this person who can pass information on to family and friends. Information, regarding a patient, will only be given to the next of kin or designated Power of Attorney to ensure privacy of our patients.

  Information over the phone will only be given to the main family contact chosen by the family. The doctor or nurse may not always be available to you but your call will be answered. It is important that you provide all contact information.

Please speak to any one member on the team if your family member has a special cultural or spiritual request. 


Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

Disclaimer: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) offers Google Translate to better facilitate access for our community. However, HHS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of translations. Any and all health information should be verified by a health care professional.