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Visiting critical care

Critical care


It is essential you do not visit the units if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who has confirmed Covid-19 or symptoms of Covid-19 within the past 14 days.

We will endeavour to offer you a visit within first 48 hours after your relative is admitted.

Unfortunately we are unable to extend your visiting time if you arrive late for your visiting slot.

When visiting you will need to wear a face covering on arrival to the hospital and go straight to the unit you are visiting. You will be met at the unit door and will need to wear a surgical mask and if applicable other protective equipment we provide for the duration of your visit and follow careful hand hygiene.

Following your visit please leave directly and do not remain on the hospital site longer that necessary.

Although we will do our best to avoid it, there may be circumstances in which we need to cut your visit short for unavoidable clinical procedures or emergency's.

Unfortunately in this situation you will not be able to re-enter the unit once you have been asked to leave. There is no visitors area available at this time. If we need to ask you to leave early we will rebook your visit as soon as is possible.

Your decision to visit is taken at your own risk. Our intensive care units are still admitting patients with Covid-19 and are a high aerosol generating area. As such the risks in intensive care and high dependency are higher and while we will provide suitable protective equipment we cannot guarantee that your visit is risk free. It is particularly important that you take this into consideration if you, or someone you live with, are vulnerable or shielding.

Visiting restrictions are constantly under review. In order to maintain safety and provide fair access to visiting for everybody we are only able to allow visiting for one approved family member for one fixed 1 hour session each day. An appointment must be pre-booked with the unit before you come to the hospital site.

Children visiting Critical Care

Having children to visit their parent or a close relative in Critical Care is a personal decision. If the child decides they want to go into the ICU, it would helpful to prepare them for what they might see, including the machines, what they do and how the patient might look.

What you can tell the child will depend on their age and why their parent or relative was taken into the ICU. You can help a child deal with the situation by:

  • trying to keep to their routine as much as possible (including school trips, seeing friends and going to after-school clubs if the child wants to);
  • making sure the child is looked after by someone they know, so they can feel safe at a difficult time;
  • telling the school, and any other relevant groups, that the child’s parent or relative is in intensive care; and
  • explaining the situation and being honest if you don’t know what is going to happen – if you are not sure, try to say something they can understand that will help the child feel secure and reassured, for example, ‘Daddy is very ill but the doctors are doing everything they can to help him’.

We do have books for children – please ask your nurse if you would like one.


It may be possible for the hospital to provide emergency accommodation, for two nights, for a limited number of relatives when their family member is first admitted to ICU. Rooms are allocated on a daily basis and the nurse in charge will ask you if you require a room.

Please note: You are not guaranteed a room or you may have to share your room with another relative. You cannot leave your belongings in the room. If there is a room available for your use you will be informed by the nurse in charge. Keys must be returned to main reception by 11.00 am the following morning.

Due to health and safety reasons, we cannot allow you to sleep in the relative’s room overnight.

A list of local accommodation is available from the ward clerk.

Car parking

Car parking can be very expensive at Addenbrookes and often spaces are limited.

Where possible, please use the park and ride scheme or public transport. We are able to offer one weekly concessionary ticket per patient, usually to the next of kin; these can be obtained by asking the nurse in charge. If your relative is likely to be in hospital for some time, other family members may be able to purchase additional concessionary parking tickets which a can also be obtained from the main reception.

Patient valuables

When your relative is admitted, the nurses will write an inventory of your relative’s property. Any valuables or money will be deposited for safekeeping. You may be asked to take home other items such as clothing etc. Unfortunately there is always a risk of property getting lost or damaged within the hospital. Please don’t bring any valuables.