Sunnybrook Magazine – Fall 2018

Web resource helps keep loved ones of ICU patients informed


Gathering input from critical care staff and family members was an important step in the ICU website’s development

(Photography by Doug Nicholson)

When a patient is in the intensive care unit (ICU), family members and loved ones are important members of the care team. To help keep them informed, the critical care department has launched a new website,

“We want family members to feel as included as possible, so providing them with easily accessible information was a natural step. Having that information online means it can be accessed anywhere, anytime,” says Dr. Andre Amaral, staff physician in critical care at Sunnybrook.

What sets the Navigating the ICU website apart is that it was developed with extensive input from staff and family members of former critical care patients, an important step toward ensuring the information on the website is relevant to the people who actually use it.

The website has a variety of useful content, including a welcome video, a link to the family satisfaction survey and contact information for each ICU, making it easier to get in touch with the care team.

Families are often overwhelmed by the amount of information they’re given when a loved one is in the ICU, given the unexpected nature of many ICU stays. To help reduce their anxiety and confusion, the website also includes an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions. Information ranges from who’s who in the ICU and what the visiting hours are, to how to learn more about a loved one’s condition and what happens after being in the ICU.

“The website has really helped the loved ones of patients better understand what’s going on in the critical and intensive care units here,” says Dr. Amaral, “and that’s helped improve people’s experiences.”