Comforting Hands

Info for Family & Friends

Having a loved one in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) can sometimes be incredibly difficult and scary for a whole range of reasons. Below is a whole heap of information for those people visiting our ICU.


We hope that the information we have provided helps to explain some of the things you may come across in the Intensive Care environment. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask any of our staff.

General ICU Info

Our Intensive Care has two pods - both with 12 beds.

Beds 1-12 are located in ICU 1
Beds 13-24 are located in ICU 2

The phone number to ring for all patient inquiries is (02) 4734 1166.

Please be aware however, that we generally don't give out detailed information about our patients in Intensive Care over the phone.

Please wash your hands.

On your way in and on your way out... if you can keep your germs, we would like to also keep ours. There may also be times that we ask you to wear a mask, gown or gloves to protect yourself or the patient.

We would also recommend not bringing a newborn into the Intensive Care - there are lot of bugs in here and we would hate to pass something onto your new baby.

Food & 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 - lots of our patients are not allowed to eat or drink - even though they may look like they can!

We also ask that you refrain from eating or drinking yourself in the unit. Spills happen easily, and our patients don't really like to sit there watching you eat your delicious looking food while they are not allowed to have anything.

What should I bring in?

A bag of basic toiletries always helps us out - a toothbrush, some toothpaste, shampoo, deoderant, some body moisturiser - but you can leave the rest of the luggage at home!  You can always bring it all in when your loved one leaves ICU to go to the ward.

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

Wanting to read more information?

If you would like to read information on diseases/health topics, COVID-19 or critical care and critical illness, clicking the below links will redirect you to reliable sources of information. 

For information and updates on COVID-19 and other health topics

For information on health topics, medication and symptom checker

For information on Intensive Care and terminology

Our 4 Visiting Rules

1. Visiting hours: 11am - 1pm & 5pm - 8pm

There are times when these visiting hours won't apply to you, but we ask that if your loved one's condition is stable or improving that you help us by visiting within these times.

If for some reason you are unable to visit within these hours, please speak to your bedside nurse or phone the ICU for more information. 

2. Number of Visitors: 3 

To maintain the safety of our staff and patients there is currently a limit of 3 visitors per patient.

Patients who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19 are not allowed visitors except under exceptional circumstances. We understand the importance of communication and support and have created online visitation via video conferencing for these patients and their loved ones to keep in touch. Please ask the ward clerk for more details.

There will be times when the visiting rules for both COVID and non-COVID patients will be revised, such as end of life, and visiting alternatives will be in collaboration with the Clinical Nurse Unit Manager and Intensivist on duty.

Please also keep yourself and others safe by practising social distancing in the waiting room and avoid gathering in groups in this small area.

Our patients are often very sick and require lots of care. We ask that you are mindful of the other patients in the Intensive Care.

3. No phones, no 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 personalised items such as a card, drawing or a photo instead.

We do also ask that phones are either off or on silent mode. If you need to make or take a phone call, please do so in the corridor or in the waiting room.

Please don't use your phones to take photos. Whilst we understand that you may want to show someone how sick your relative is, however most people when they are better do not want photos of when they were unconscious or looking terrible shared around. This is also a privacy law issue.

4. Please buzz and wait

Sometimes you will need to wait for a while but it is because we are busy with your loved one. This could be because we are doing a procedure, giving a wash/shower or sitting them out of bed.
These things often require lots of people and equipment and the bedspace is already very full!
Being an advocate for your loved one and maintaining as much dignity and respect for our patients is our priority.