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Who are the health professionals taking care of my loved one?

There are four physicians on the ICU team. They are called intensivists and are specialists in intensive care. They rotate on a weekly basis and can be reached 24 hours a day. The Director of the ICU is responsible for the overall medical care of patients.

We frequently consult with specialists such as cardiologists (heart specialists), nephrologists (kidney specialists) and hematologists (specialists in blood diseases) in order to ensure the best possible care.

Registered Nurses
All the nurses in the ICU are specially trained to provide close monitoring and patient treatments. Each nurse is assigned direct care of one or two patients to allow for very close monitoring.

Some nurses also have specific responsibilities within the unit:

  • The Charge Nurse is responsible for the day-to-day running of the unit.
  • The Nursing Unit Administrator (NUA) is responsible for administrative duties
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is available to support clinical practice and nursing research.

The NUA and CNS are also available for consultation on matters to do with patient and family care and nursing practice.

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory Therapists (RTs) manage ventilators (respirators) — machines that help patients breathe. They are trained to ensure patients receive the appropriate amount of oxygen therapy and support from the ventilator. There are two RTs in the ICU on each shift.

A pharmacist who specializes in critical care assists the team in selecting the best medications for patients and provides ongoing consultation and educational support to physicians and nurses.

During a critical illness, the body has additional nutritional requirements and may require tube feeding. The dietitian assists the team in deciding the best nutritional plan for the patient and provides ongoing consultation to the nurses.

The physiotherapist works with the ICU team and provides ongoing consultation to nurses regarding ways to maintain lung function and physical mobility. This may include helping patients with breathing and coughing techniques to clear secretions from the chest and airway or assisting with exercises to prevent problems that sometimes occur because of immobility.

Social Worker
Having a loved one in the ICU can be a stressful. A social worker is available Monday to Friday to talk with you about your concerns and to connect you with community resources if needed. If you would like, any member of the health team can refer you.

One of the Hospital's chaplains is assigned to the ICU. Working with other Hospital chaplains and community-based representatives of many different denominations, the ICU chaplain will assist patients and their families in seeking the pastoral care they wish. You are welcome to share your preferences and any cultural and religious practices that help us understand your and your loved one's needs.

Research Coordinators
Research Coordinators conduct research in the ICU on an ongoing basis. You may be approached for consent to have your family member enrolled in a research study designed to discover ways to improve care. There is no obligation to participate and patient care will not be affected by your decision.

Unit Clerks
Unit Clerks work with Charge Nurses to ensure a smooth-functioning unit. They answer the phones, file information in the patient's chart and organize some supplies.

Service Assistants
Service Assistants are available to help the nurses transport patients to and from tests outside the ICU. They are also responsible for cleaning patient rooms and the general areas around the ICU and for running errands such as bringing blood samples to the laboratory.

Mount Sinai Hospital is a teaching centre. Health professionals in training from all disciplines participate in the care of the patient under the supervision of the different team members.