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What happens when I come in?

If you're having heart surgery at the hospital, you'll be told about cardiac intensive care before you arrive and a space will be booked for you after your operation.

Arrival

If you're coming directly from theatre, it takes our nurses around 30 minutes to an hour to make you safe and comfortable on the unit.

Relatives coming to visit at this time may be asked to stay in the waiting room while the nurses are settling you in – but your family can come in afterwards and stay as long as they like.

Visiting

We don't have set visiting times on the cardiac ICU – you can arrive when you like and stay as long as they wish. If the nurses need to care for the patient, or carry out a procedure, they may ask you to go to the waiting room for a short while.

The nursing staff will explain what happens on the ward. They will tell you what all the equipment does, and talk you through the patient's treatment plan.

Ward rounds

Consultant-led rounds take place around 12.30pm. A consultant, a registrar, fellow and senior nurse will visit every patient on the unit. Consultants are usually happy for you to be at the bedside, and can answer your questions.

For long-term patients, consultants will speak to relatives at least once a week to update them on progress and treatment. However, if you wish to speak to a consultant at any time, please ask a member of staff.

Relatives

Relatives can also phone us at any time of the day or night to find out about a patient. We just ask that you avoid calling during the shift changes – so please don't phone between 7.30 and 8.30am, and 7.30 and 8.30pm.

If a patient has a very large family who wish to visit, the nursing staff may have to restrict visitors to two at a time, to reduce the stress for the patient. They may also do this with telephone calls – so they will pass information to one or two family members who will then need to tell their relatives.

We have an overnight relatives room, and more long term accommodation is offered through Heartbeat House, an on-site facility.

Leaving

When you are well enough to leave the unit, you will be taken to a hospital ward or a high dependency unit. This could happen at any time of the day or night.

A nurse (and any necessary equipment) will go with you and hand over care to a new member of staff. We will tell your relatives if you are being moved.