Patient safety in the ICU

Ensuring the safety and health of patients in visitors in our hospitals is a top priority.

Take special precautions for infection

You may see a sign asking you to take special precautions before entering a patient’s room. It could be because they have an infection or history of infection such as the flu, MRSA, VRE, or C Diff that we don’t want to pass on to other patients, visitors or staff.

Staff will explain what signs mean and what you need to do. Sometimes you will be required to wear a gown, mask or gloves.

Visit our Infection Control pages to learn more about what you can do to stop the spread of infections.

Other safety precautions

Hand Hygiene

Protect yourself and others from getting infections by practicing good hand hygiene: you must clean your hands often and thoroughly. Wash your hands after using the washroom and before eating.

You may also

  • Use the alcohol-based liquid/foam hand sanitizers available on each unit. 
  • Ask caregivers if they have cleaned their hands before providing you with care.

Cover your cough

If you need to cough, cover it by coughing into your upper sleeve or into a tissue, not your hands. 

Don’t visit if you have a cold or the flu

Please do not visit if you have any symptoms of the cold or flu such as a runny nose, fever or diarrhea. Our patients are very ill and susceptible to germs that can be passed on.

Food & drink

Do not bring food or any outside drinks to the bedside to help us control the spread of germs and protect our medical equipment.

Smoking & Fragrances

All VCH sites are smoke-free inside and outside. Patients who smoke are welcome to ask for information about smoking cessation programs and products available to them while in hospital.

Do not wear perfume, cologne or aftershave while you are a patient in a VCH facility. If you can, remind visitors before they come to see you to refrain from wearing these products or bringing in flowers. Some people are highly allergic to fragrance ingredients, and can suffer severe reactions.

Ask before you record or take photos

To protect the privacy of other patients and families, please speak to the nurse before taking photos or recording any videos.

Respect cultural diversity

The values of respect, caring and trust characterize our relationships. Please keep these values in mind when you interact with people in the ICU.

Mobile devices & phones

  • Keep your ringer/sounds turned off 
  • Text instead of  talking 
  • Use the waiting room or cafeteria for telephone conversations

Personal belongings

Any clothing and valuables that arrive with the patient will often accompany them to the bedside, and you should bring them home. Please ensure all family members know you have taken a loved one's belongings. In emergencies, the patient's well-being is first and foremost; at this time, belongings can be lost or misplaced or may have been stolen at the scene by bystanders. 

  • If searching for valuables, check at the patient's bedside, the emergency room cupboard/safe (if applicable), or contact the hospital valuables department.
  • If admitting staff logged belongings into the cashiers, there would be a form in the patient's chart confirming what valuables they logged. You might need to see a social worker to access a person's belongings while in the ICU.  
  • Other options include checking the scene of the incident, the ambulance, or, if applicable, with the police. 

VCH is not held responsible for any lost or stolen items. In emergencies, VCH hospitals can store some small valuables for a short time. Ask the Admitting Department or the Social Worker for more information about logged and stored valuables.