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Critical Care at St. Michael's

Visiting us

How to visit my loved one in intensive care?

We are committed to supporting the families and loved ones of patients. Our patients have told us – and research shows – that the presence of family improves patients’ experience, recovery and well-being. St. Michael’s Hospital values the support and comfort provided to its patients and aims to make it easy for family members to support and participate in the care of their loved ones.


The health-care team meets each morning to discuss every patient in the intensive care unit. Rounds involve communication about sensitive patient information, such as the patient’s medical condition and plans for the patient on that day. Due to restrictions in space, visitors may be asked to use headphones or step out of the room to ensure patient confidentiality and privacy during rounds.

The substitute decision maker (SDM), or someone identified by the SDM, can be present during the rounds for the patient. Families are encouraged to listen in to the discussion. A brief overview will be provided, as well as any important information discussed with the health care team. If you would like more information about your loved one, please reach out to the physician or nurse caring for them on that day. We understand family members may not always be present during rounds. The nurse or physician can provide updates at any time.  

General visiting information site

In regards to visiting St. Michael’s Hospital, see our general visiting information site or learn more through our visitor FAQs .

Caring for yourself

It can be stressful when a loved one is in hospital. It is important to remember to take time for yourself, not only for self-care but to improve your ability to understand information and provide support. Below is a list of ideas we hope will help. 

Take care of your physical health

  • Take time for rest, meals and fresh air.
  • Do not feel you have to be available on site every moment. Our health care teams are committed to caring for your loved ones at all times.
  • Eat well and exercise.

Create a personalized kit

  • Put together a kit containing pictures, mementoes, books, magazines, healthy snacks, a tooth brush, small pillow, or other items to make your visits more comfortable.

Gather support

  • Lean on family and friends. If others come to visit, use the opportunity to refresh yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help.
  • If there are many people available, make a rotational schedule. Time spent in the ICU may be the beginning of a long recovery. Your strength will be needed throughout the entirety of your loved one’s process.

Use a notebook

  • Write down the names of the health care team members and those involved with your loved one’s care.
  • Write down any questions that come to mind to ensure they can be asked when the appropriate source is present.
  • Use the notebook as a journal and write down anything that may be on your mind. Many families find this is a helpful coping method.

Engage with your loved one and the team

  • Always talk with your loved one, keeping him or her informed about what is going on outside their room. Fill out the My Story form with your loved one so hospital staff can get to know and relate to their patient.

Patient or family feedback

After discharge from the ICU, we invite patients and family members to take a few minutes to tell us about their experience. The survey below will take approximately three to five minutes to complete and assists our teams in improving the care for patients and families at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Begin survey now