Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Medical Intensive Care Unit

Patient Guide

Patient Safety

Please view our informational Emmi® Patient Safety video.

Welcome to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at The Methodist Hospital. The MICU is a 24-bed intensive care unit that specializes in the care of critically ill patients with medical disorders. Our staff is committed to providing comprehensive and well coordinated care to your loved one. We consider you a member of this very important team and want to be sure that you have a thorough understanding of what to expect from the MICU experience.

We understand that hospitalization can be a stressful time for patients and their families. Be assured that we are here to assist you. During your time here with us, you may have questions about the hospital, about your stay, and about the many services we offer patients and guests. This website was created to help answer these questions. Should you need additional information or assistance, please ask your nurse or contact the MICU front desk at 713-441-3020.

The Patient Care Team

The team providing care for your family member consists of professionals from many fields. The team may include the patient's attending and consulting physicians, the intensivist (a physician who has had special training in critical care medicine), residents and critical care fellows, registered nurses, patient care assistants, unit secretaries, respiratory and physical therapists, dietitians, case managers, chaplains and social workers.

The entire MICU team is committed to providing patients and their families with outstanding care and service.

When You Arrive

Admission

Most MICU patients are admitted from within our hospital or admitted through the Emergency Department. When the patient first arrives, the family will be asked to wait in the visitor lounge. This uninterrupted time with the patient is critical and requires constant attention by the MICU staff; it allows us to provide the best care for your loved one.

When the patient arrives on the unit, he/she will be connected to a monitor. These monitors allow us to continually observe the status of your loved one. Blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and oxygenation saturation are just some of the parameters which are monitored.

As mentioned above, each patient in MICU will have an ICU intensivist managing his/her care. An intensivist is a physician that specializes in critical care. There may be additional physicians consulted during your time in the MICU. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with your loved one's healthcare team.

Spokesperson

Patients remain at the center of care in our MICU and we strive to include them in decisions regarding their care. Patients who are alert and aware will be communicated with directly. For those patients who cannot communicate or who are not alert, we recommend a member of the family be the spokesperson. Typically the spokesperson has either been selected by the patient, has medical power of attorney, or is the closest next of kin. The spokesperson is an important person and is the trustee of the patient's private information. The spokesperson will receive information about the patient's status and will be responsible for sharing it with friends and family.

Medical Profile

Upon admission to the MICU, a medical profile will be completed to provide the staff with background medical history and pertinent information. This information is collected to assist our team in taking care of your loved one. If a patient is unable to communicate, a member of the family will be contacted for such information.

If you have questions regarding the admitting process, call Patient Access Services at 713-394-6800. For security reasons, the Dunn Tower Lobby, where admissions are handled, is closed to the public 10:00 pm - 5:30 am daily. During these hours the only public entrance to the Hospital is on Level One, through the Emergency Room controlled access area.

Patient Confidentiality

Password

The patient's right to privacy is very important to us. In order to protect patient confidentiality, we ask that the patient or patient's spokesperson select a password. This password will be used to share information (via telephone) regarding the patient's status while here in the MICU. The password may be shared with family and friends, or anyone with whom you would like to share patient information.

A request for a "no information" status may be made upon admission, or at any time during your stay, by calling Patient Access Services at 713-394-6800. "No information" means that, by law, we cannot confirm to callers that your loved one is being treated at the hospital as an inpatient, outpatient or Emergency Department patient. Likewise, patients will not receive flowers, mail or other deliveries unless they are addressed to a specific room number. If you have questions, please call Patient Access Services at 713-394-6800 or the Communications Dept. at 713-394-6990.

While you are here

Visitation

  • Please check with the MICU staff for visiting guidelines.
  • For you and your loved one's safety, food and drinks may not be stored in the patient's room.
  • Live plants or flowers are not permitted in MICU patient rooms. Bacteria may be living on the plants, water, or soil and may potentially infect your loved one.
  • Visitors who are ill are discouraged from visiting because ICU patients are at high risk for infection.
  • Children may be allowed to visit in the MICU. Please check with the nurse caring for your family member prior to visiting.
  • We ask family to stay in the patient's room or waiting rooms at all times, rather than waiting in hallways, to ensure privacy and confidentiality for all of our patients.
  • When you want to talk to the nurse or physician, please be aware that between the hours of 7-8:30 AM and 7-8:30 PM we have change-of-shift report, which means that nurses and physicians many not be available. At these times the caregivers need to share clear and accurate information with one another - information that is essential for the care of patients.
  • There may be times that the healthcare team asks visitors to step out to our visitor lounge if the patient is having a sterile procedure. This is done for patient safety and privacy. The nurse will notify the family when they can return to the room.
  • Please keep in mind that for critically ill patients, rest is an imperative part of the healing process. Be sure that you are allowing your loved one adequate rest, as well as getting plenty yourself.
  • If you are visiting a patient in "contact precautions" you will be asked to wash your hands or scrub with alcohol gel each time you enter and leave the room.
  • Please notify any nurse or unit secretary if the MICU waiting room becomes too crowded and we can help you find a place where you can comfortably wait.
    • In-hospital calls: Dial 9 + the number you are calling.
    • Local calls: Dial 9 + the number you are calling.
    • Local directory assistance: Dial 9 + 1 + 411. There is no charge for local directory assistance.
    • Long distance calls: Dial 9 + 0 + area code + the number you are calling, or dial 9 and follow the instructions provided by your personal long-distance carrier.
    • International calls: Dial 9 + 01 + overseas area code + the number you are calling, and the overseas operator will help you.
  • Food and Nutrition Services

    If your loved one is receiving a meal tray, a Food & Nutrition Services employee will bring a menu for the next day. This menu follows a diet prescribed by your physician and offers a variety of delicious, healthful foods. Simply circle your selections and place the completed menu on the tray.

    A staff member will check the choices made to make sure they agree with your doctor-prescribed eating plan, and will be available to discuss your menu and answer any questions. If you need further assistance, nursing personnel will be happy to contact the Food & Nutrition Services Department.

    Delayed Meals

    Occasionally, certain medical tests may be scheduled during regular meal time, or a procedure must be performed on an empty stomach. This may delay meal time. As soon as your loved one is allowed to eat, nursing personnel will order a tray.

    Ask the Experts

    The Food & Nutrition Services staff includes Clinical Dietitians—experts specifically trained in nutritional science, health maintenance and patient education. Our dietitians provide extra nutritional support to those patients who need it most. They are also available to teach patients about special eating plans and dietary restrictions. If you would like to learn more about your diet, ask your doctor or nurse to contact a dietitian.

    Patient Food Services Holine

    Your concerns are important to us. If there is something we could be doing better, or if you have questions or concerns, please let us know by calling the Patient Food Service Help Line at 713-790-2567.

    Mail

    Mail will be delivered to your room Monday through Friday. The mailing address for MICU is:
    Patient Name
    c/o The Methodist Hospital
    MICU, F270
    6565 Fannin Street,
    Houston, Texas 77030

    For more information, call the Mail Center at 713-790-2641.

    Personal Items

    Space for storing belongings in the MICU is limited. We therefore encourage family members to minimize personal belongings. During admission to the MICU a list of the patient's valuables is obtained. In an effort to keep this list current, please notify the nurse when additional items are brought in or when valuables such as glasses, dentures or hearing aids are taken home.

    Computers / Personal Computers

    A Computer is available for family members in the waiting room located outside the main entrance to the MICU.

    Personal computers are permitted in the MICU. For internet access a hospital issued password is required. Please check with the nurse caring for your family member for assistance in obtaining this password.

    TDD/FAX

    To receive messages via a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call 713-790-3530, the hospital's TDD number.

    If the patient receives a telex, cable, mailgram or TDD message, Communications Services will arrange to deliver it to your room.

    A Facsimile machine for receiving and sending fax transmissions is located on the first floor of the Dunn Tower, next to the public phones. The machine can also be used to make plain paper copies, and it accepts most major credit cards.

    Pharmacy

    Scurlock Tower Pharmacy is a full service pharmacy located on the second floor of Scurlock Tower. Our pharmacy offers complimentary discharge prescription delivery service to all patients in The Methodist Hospital. In addition, our pharmacy also offers personal medication counseling, drug utilization review, specialty prescription compounding, free patient education materials, diabetic/medical supplies and other health products, over-the-counter items and unique gift merchandise.

    Hours of Operation: 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday
    Phone: 713.441.6350
    Fax: 713.441.0412
    E-mail: stpharmacy@houstonmethodist.org

    Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese

    Phone Calls

    In Medical ICU, each patient's room has a telephone. Incoming calls will be transferred into your loved one's room from the main number at the front desk (713-441-3020). The following calls may be made from the phone in the patient's room.

    Any questions or complaints regarding your phone service should be directed to the hospital operator by dialing 0.

    Room Concerns

    If you have a question or concern about the condition of your room, please let your nurse know or call 713-790-2517.

    Social Services

    Our social workers can help ease stress and anxiety caused by your loved ones illness.

    Social workers are available to provide counseling, guidance and assistance with interpersonal, emotional and financial problems. They can help you make decisions about the care of your loved one after you leave the hospital, assist you in obtaining community services, arrange for sign language interpreters, help you locate appropriate nursing facilities and answer questions about Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney. To request a visit from a social worker, please ask your nurse.

    Spiritual Care

    Having a loved one in MICU can be stressful. The Methodist Hospital chaplains, who represent a wide range of faiths and spiritual beliefs, are available to support you during this difficult time. Common spiritual needs may include:

    A listening ear
    Emotional support
    Prayer before procedure
    Support for family and friends
    Spiritual or religious questions
    Visit by a hospital chaplain

    When to Contact a Chaplain

    Uncomfortable feelings
    Anxiety and depression
    Grief and loss
    General spiritual support including sensitive use of religious texts and prayer
    Sacraments and religious rituals
    Family meetings
    Community clergy contacts
    Patient spiritual care needs dialogue with the medical team

    Please inform the nurse caring for your loved one if you desire spiritual support and arrangements will be made for a visit by a hospital chaplain. Our staff wants to meet your spiritual needs.

    Wiess Memorial Chapel

    Located just off the main lobby in Dunn Tower, Wiess Chapel, welcomes you. Prayer and/or worship services are held daily. For service times, please call 713-441-2381.

    Muslim Prayer Room

    A Muslim prayer room is located on the first floor of the Fondren Building. If you need additional information, please ask your nurse.

    Pallative Care

    Palliative care is the medical specialty focused on relief of pain and other symptoms of serious illness. The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and to offer patients and their families the best possible quality of life.

    Palliative care is appropriate at any point in a serious or life-threatening illness. It is not dependent on prognosis. It can also be provided at the same time as curative and life-prolonging treatments.

    If you are interested in initiating a palliative care consult for your loved one please inform a physician or nurse.

    Pet Visitation

    The Methodist Hospital, in collaboration with PAWS Houston, strives to sustain relationships between pet owners and their pets through a period of the owner's terminal and/or chronic illness in the hospital. PAWS Houston arranges and facilitates personal pet visits to the hospital to improve physical and mental health for the pet owner. Please inform your physician or nurse if you are interested in this service.

    Health Information Management

    Patient Medical Records/Death Certificates

    The Health Information Management Department at The Methodist Hospital is dedicated to maintaining your medical records and keeping your health information private and secure in accordance with federal and state regulations. For general questions regarding your health information, click here to learn more. Normal business hours are, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 713-441-4176.

    Medical Terms

    We recognize the vital role you play in the wellbeing and recovery of our patient and your loved one. The MICU staff knows that you too need support, reassurance, and above all, information. We will work in partnership to provide you with updates as often as possible.

    We also recognize that many medical terms will be mentioned while discussing the status of your loved one. These terms can be confusing and foreign to many non-medical individuals. Please feel free to discuss these unfamiliar terms with your physician or nurse. The following link may also be of help.

    Medical Terms

    Transfer out of MICU

    Most patients in the MICU are transferred to an acute care unit or to a long-term acute care hospital before being discharged home. If, however, you are being discharged home directly from ICU and have a friend or family picking you up upon discharge, please have them park in a designated parking area until you are ready to leave. Arrangements may also be made to meet you at the main entrance on Fannin Street, where an attendant can assist you. If you have additional questions, please ask your nurse or an MICU staff member.

    Gifts and Contributions

    Our employees are happy to serve you as part of their job. It is unnecessary to extend gratuities such as money or gifts.

    However, if you were pleased with the service and care you received and wish to make a contribution, gifts to The Methodist Hospital Foundation are always welcome. These gifts help the hospital continue to search for new advances in patient care, research and medical education.

    The Foundation was established to receive cash and cash equivalent gifts; such contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law under the 501 (c) (3) tax code. For more information, call the Foundation office at 713-793-1664 or write:

    The Methodist Hospital Foundation
    6565 Fannin St., M.S. STB1-30
    Houston, TX 77030