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Dana-Farber Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Clinical Affiliation with South Shore Hospital

Visitor Information

We recognize that a family member’s hospitalization may have been sudden and unexpected. Our physicians, nurses, and critical care team members are sensitive to the impact that serious illness or injury can have on families and their loved ones, and we make every effort to answer your questions and concerns.

The following guidelines will help family members understand our critical care department policies:

You are encouraged to identify one family member who will be the family spokesperson with whom hospital staff can regularly communicate. Other family members and friends are encouraged to contact the family spokesperson for information regarding the patient’s status. The family spokesperson can arrange a time to speak with physicians and nurses daily, and can be informed of the patient’s status and daily treatment plan. The family spokesperson may call at any time to obtain information. It is best, however, if the spokesperson avoids calling during shift changes when patients’ conditions are reported to the incoming staff. Shift changes are between 7-8 a.m., 3-4 p.m, and 11 p.m.-midnight.

Family members are encouraged to take periodic breaks from waiting in the critical care area. Pagers are available so they can be reached as needed. Please request a pager from a nurse and indicate when you would like to be paged.

While family member visits are therapeutic for patients, rest is essential for recovery.

Before every visit, please stop at the reception desk to contact the unit staff using the intercom. Nurses caring for each patient will provide guidance as to the appropriate length of visits. Please respect their judgement.

Visiting is limited to two visitors at a time. Visitors are welcome anytime, with the exception of 3-4 p.m. Nursing staff will provide guidance concerning children’s visits. Please do not visit if you are feeling ill; critically care patients are susceptible to infection and disease.

Patients in the critical care units generally require frequent medical and nursing care. If you are visiting a patient when medical care is needed, you may be asked to return to the waiting room. The nurse will call you when you may return.

For patients who are in our critical care units for an extended time, we encourage families to bring photographs, children’s drawings, and other personal items that may lift the patient’s spirits. Because of space constraints, please limit the amount of flowers and decorative items. In consideration of those with latex allergies, mylar balloons should be substituted for latex balloons.


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