Canberra Intensive Care Unit

We're Here For You Too.

Having a member of your family or close friend admitted to an Intensive Care Unit can be an overwhelming experience. We recognise and value the important part family and friends play in our patients’ recovery.

Family Care

The Support You Need

It is important to take care of your own emotional and physical well-being during this stressful time – it will mean that you are in a much better position to support your loved ones.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – we are here for you.

Speak To Our Social Worker

Our resident social workers are available 7 days a week from 8.30am to 9.30pm and are highly experienced in supporting and guiding the families of patients. Please ask the ward clerk, medical or nursing staff to arrange an appointment for you.

Ask Our Volunteers For Help

Our dedicated volunteers provide invaluable support for visitors in the waiting room. They are usually available at the volunteers’ desk in the ICU waiting rooms 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm. Volunteers greet visitors to the ICU, escort visitors to patients, and liaise with nursing, medical and administrative staff to coordinate visits. They wear purple vests so you can easily identify them.


Visiting Our ICU

We are open 24 hours a day and try to be as flexible as possible with visiting hours. Supervised children are welcome but usually benefit from being prepared for their visit –  our team can help you explain things to them.

Because of the complex nature of the care we provide, we ask all visitors to stick to the following guidelines


We do not have set visiting hours. The ICU is open for visitors 24 hours a day.

2 At A Time

We request no more than 2 visitors with the patient at a time


Please use the anti-microbial hand rub on entering and leaving the ICU.


Please call us first before visiting so we can update you on current restrictions/requirements - the advice is changing so rapidly

Research In The ICU

You may be approached by one of our clinical or research staff about being involved in one of the many studies we conduct in the ICU. These studies are vital in advancing our ability to deliver the very best care to you and your loved ones so your consideration is much appreciated.



Questions & Answers

Family and friends play an important role in aiding our patients’ recovery. Visitors are usually restricted to immediate family and close friends, with no more than two visitors with the patient at any time. Supervised children are encouraged to visit but usually benefit from being prepared; we can help explain things to them. When you visit for the first time, please let the bedside nurse know so that we may orientate you to the ward.

The ICU is open 24 hours a day for visitors and we try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible with visiting hours. However, as our patients often require frequent and complex procedures, we may have to ask you to wait before being able to visit and/or step out during your visit. If you feel that you have been waiting a particularly long time, please let us know or speak to the volunteers in the waiting room.

If you have cold symptoms or an upset stomach or temperature please postpone your visit. Our patients are critically ill and every day germs can have a devastating effect on their recovery

You can receive information and updates about your loved one from the nursing and medical staff caring for them at any time. A more formal family meeting may be organised so that the medical team can provide information to a large group of people at once.

We try and keep belongings to a minimum in the ICU due to space constraints and hygiene concerns. However, you may wish to supply basic toiletries and/or a small music player, photos or other small personal effects to remind your loved one of home. If you’re not sure if something is appropriate, then just ask one of our nurses.

If your loved one is intubated (has a breathing tube and is supported by a ventilator) they will not be able to speak. That does not mean that they cannot hear you and our staff will talk to them even if they are sedated. We encourage you to do the same. When they are awake, your loved one may be able to communicate in others ways such as writing.

If you have travelled a long distance and require accommodation on the hospital campus, this can be organised through our Social Work Department – please ask nursing staff for more details. While we encourage you to get rest and take breaks away from the bedside, we understand there are times when you may wish to remain close by. Please discuss options with our nursing team.

Children accompanied by an adult are encouraged to visit, if you wish. Please let us know if children are visiting for the first time, or if you would like assistance to prepare them for their visit.