What to Expect

​​The Intensive Care Unit can be a frightening experience. There are different types of equipment, machines, and alarms going off. You will be hooked up to monitors, equipment, and administered medications.

Nursing-staff-to-patient ratio is 1:1. We have a lot of support staff and consulting teams that will be involved in the patient care.

Our patients have varying illnesses and treatment requirements, and they respond differently to treatment. There may be good days and bad days with various lengths of hospital stay. Your condition may fluctuate, so it is important to take it one day at a time.

When You Arrive

Patients are admitted either directly from surgery, general ward, or emergently after consultation from the Critical Care Response Team. Upon your arrival, the ICU team will need time to settle you and get treatment started. There will be times when family members will be asked to wait outside in the waiting room while procedures are being completed.

During Your Stay

Your Treatment
There are many different reasons why patients are admitted to the MSICU. Treatment and care varies between patients. Medical-Surgical staff will update you on your progress daily. Family meetings are available upon requests. Most of our patients are on different life support modalities, such as ventilators, intravenous drips/medications, and dialysis.

Monitoring Your Health
Your health care team will see you every day. We will update you on your progress and answer any questions you may have. If you want to speak with a member of your healthcare team at any other time, ask the nurse looking after you.

You may have blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans or other tests performed during your stay. If we recommend that you receive any of these tests, we will discuss them with you in advance, and we will meet with you afterward to discuss the results.

​We encourage you to have family members, friends and other supportive visitors during your stay. You are welcome to meet with visitors in your room, in the common lounge areas and in the visiting areas outdoors.

UHN hospitals offer flexible visiting hours.

Learn more about visiting patients at UHN.

Throughout our hospital, you and your family and other visitors can find a range of amenities to make your stay more enjoyable and comfortable. Learn more about amenities at UHN hospitals.

Eating and Drinking
We have a dedicated dietician in the MSICU who will follow your condition and assess when and if you are able to be fed. This is re-assessed on a daily basis.

You will have a chance to tell us about your food preferences and allergies when you are admitted to the hospital. This information will be entered into our computer system, and your meals will be provided with your preferences and allergies, as well as the diet plan specified by your doctor taken into account.

Family members are not allowed to bring any food or drinks to the bedside or into the MSICU.

If you are taking any medications before you enter the hospital and when you are admitted to the MSICU, our Medical Team and Pharmacists will reconcile all home medications as soon as possible. All new medications ordered and new medications prescribed during your stay will be determined and assessed during daily rounds with the medical team and a pharmacist.

We determine patient allergies before any medications are administered.

If you want to know more about your medications, you can ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse at any time.

Pain Management
UHN has an Acute Pain Service, which will be involved in your care if needed. We will ensure your pain is managed.

As your body heals, you may experience some or a lot of pain and discomfort without being able to express your pain. Our goal is to make sure that you have as little pain as possible or are pain-free.

Most of our MSICU patients are not able to express pain symptoms themselves. The health care team will be managing and assessing your pain daily to ensure a pain-free experience, which will:

  • Decrease the amount of stress on your body
  • Promote healing
  • Decrease complications
  • Prevent the development of chronic or long-term pain

We use a special MSICU pain tool to manage your pain if you are unable to verbally state or point to the painful area.

Hand Washing
It is important to wash your hands well and often while you are in the hospital. Washing your hands will reduce the chances that you will become sick or get an infection.

It's okay to ask your doctor, nurse and other health care providers to wash or sanitize their hands using a gel hand sanitizer before examining you.

You can learn more about infection control at UHN​.

How Long Will Your Stay Be?

There are various lengths of stay depending on the patient's needs and progress.

The length of your stay will be based on your health care team's assessment of your condition. Soon after you arrive on the unit, we will discuss with you and your family how long you will be staying.

Preparing for Your Discharge

You will leave MSICU when stable and will be discharged either to an acute care unit or general ward.

We will work with you and your family to start planning early for your discharge to help you with a safe and successful transition.

At the end of your stay, we will give you discharge instructions and a prescription for any medications you require.

If you have any questions about your discharge or your care needs before you leave the hospital, don't be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.​

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