SICU Visitor Information

Having a loved one with a critical illness or injuries in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) is a stressful situation. The information on this page is provided to inform you of how the SICU functions. 

The SICU is an unfamiliar environment where a very large team of specialized staff is caring for your loved one. Your loved one’s care will be directed by the SICU intensivist or by the primary attending physician in consultation with the SICU intensivist.  

Critical care nurses (CCNs) are crucial members of the SICU team. Our critical care nurses are highly trained and experienced in monitoring and caring for the critically ill. The multidisciplinary team caring for your loved one includes dedicated SICU pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, chaplains, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, imaging technologists and trauma technicians.

Visiting Your Loved One

Visiting Hours and Rules

We will accommodate visits at any time upon request; however there are times when we may ask you to leave the room for few minutes for a procedure or for the privacy of an adjacent patient and family.

The best times to visit are between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. or between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. 

Although permitted, visits between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. or between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. may be interrupted for staff shift changes and other procedures.

To show consideration to all patients, we limit visitation to two visitors at a time. 

Children under 12 are usually not permitted in the SICU with certain exceptions. Please ask the nursing manager. 

Please do not eat or bring food into a patient’s room; drinks are acceptable. 

Please turn off cell phones prior to entering the SICU. You can use them in the halls or lobby outside of the unit. 

Infection Control

  • Please use the alcohol-based hand wash prior to entering all rooms. 
  • If a patient is on "contact precautions," please wear the yellow gown and gloves provided upon entry into the room.
  • We do not allow flowers in the patient rooms. 
  • If you have a cold or a cough, please ask a staff member for advice on visiting and mask usage.

Suggestions for Visitors

  • Remember that patients in the SICU need rest. Sometimes frequent visitors can be tiring, so we ask that you limit visitors.
  • It is OK to help your loved one to wash, reposition and eat.
  • It may be helpful to bring magazines, CD players and pictures from home.
  • Don’t be alarmed if your loved one seems confused or "foggy." Often people are taking strong medication or sedation. It's not unusual for people to have poor concentration or frequent forgetfulness.
  • Consider having family members taking shifts for visits so that several family members are not always present for long periods. This allows family members time to rest and avoid exhaustion.

Entrance to the SICU

For security purposes, the doors to the SICU are locked. Please use the telephone located on the wall outside the SICU to gain access inside the unit. A staff member will open the door.


Good care and the law require that our patient’s medical information is protected. To best accomplish this, we ask that you identify one spokesperson for your family.  It will be the role of the spokesperson to provide your family with ongoing information.

Regulations mandate that we only give out information regarding the location and general condition (stable, guarded, critical, etc.) to persons other than the family spokesperson. It is also very difficult to respond to numerous phone calls and still provide quality care to our patients.

Please help us to respect all patients and visitors during this challenging time by respecting their privacy.

Location and Parking

Visitor parking is available for a fee in the Arbor Drive parking structure located past the hospital entrance on Arbor Drive. Valet parking is also available during office hours.


200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-543-6222

SICU Waiting Room and Family Meeting Room

The SICU waiting room is has limited space and must be shared by all patients’ family members.  Please limit the number of family members in the waiting room at any given time.  Please ask the SICU staff for other waiting options. There is also a dedicated room for private meetings between SICU staff and families. 

Ask Questions

It is expected that you and your family may have feelings of anxiety and uncertainty during this stressful time. You can be assured that this is recognized by the SICU team. Please do not hesitate to ask questions and have your concerns addressed. This is an important part of our role in caring for your loved one.