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Hospital  >  Departments  >  Critical Care Medicine  >  Navigating the ICU  >  How can I help take care of my loved one?  >  How can I connect with and care for my loved one in the ICU?

How can I connect with and care for my loved one in the ICU?

Communicating with your loved one in the ICU can be difficult. Speech and language problems are often caused by strokes or other neurological conditions. Also, patients may not be able to use their voice to communicate if they are on a breathing machine.

Speech-language pathologists are often called upon to evaluate the patient and find ways to establish communication.

  • Sometimes simple tools, such as an alphabet board, can make a positive difference in a patient’s ability to communicate with family members and participate in their own medical care.
  • By keeping communication as simple as possible, it can help avoid added frustration for the patient.
  • Connecting with the patient may include just sitting at the bedside and holding his or her hand. A familiar face, touch, or voice can be comforting to the patient.

It’s also important to allow for periods of rest for both the patient and family members. The bedside nurse can help provide some guidance about your loved one’s comfort and rest needs.

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Location and contact

Critical Care Medicine

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, 
D-wing, 1st floor
room D1 08
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-4522
Fax: 416-480-4999

For information about patients admitted to Sunnybrook's Intensive Care Units, please contact the unit through the hospital switchboard at 416-480-6100