Intensive Care Unit

An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialized department in the hospital used to treat the most critically ill patients. Often, ICU patients need special equipment to help them perform basic bodily functions; these patients receive constant treatment and monitoring. At MedStar Health, we are staffed by dedicated critical care specialists committed to providing expert, personal care to you and your loved ones.

Our ICU patients have an entire multidisciplinary health care team working to care for them. These specialists include physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pulmonologists and social workers, who are trained critical care specialists.

Selecting a family spokesperson

The cooperation of family and friends is essential to properly care for patients in the ICU. Families should select one member to communicate with the physician and nurses and keep other family members informed of the patient's condition. Having one spokesperson helps ensure clear and accurate communication between the nurse, physician and family, and allows our staff to spend more time caring for patients.

Advanced Directives for ICU Patients

Advanced directives are a set of instructions that state your wishes regarding healthcare. They should address all aspects of life support so medical staff members are aware of your wishes should you become unable to voice your desires. If an advanced directive is not made, Maryland law allows someone else to make medical decisions for you. If no one has been chosen to decide treatment issues, the closest relative may be asked to make these decisions. In instances where no one is available, the court may appoint a guardian.

Intensive Care Unit at MedStar Montgomery

The Samuel Riggs IV Critical Care Unit at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center consists of 12 beds. The team of professionals caring for your loved ones includes physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pulmonologists and social workers all specially trained in critical care.

Visitation Policies​

  • 24-hour open visitation
  • Visitors are not permitted to sleep in the room with the patient
  • Limit two visitors at a time
  • Visitation is restricted during shift change

Visiting hours

In an effort to support a healing environment, we ask that you limit visitors to two at a time. Visiting hours are open except between the hours of 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Quiet time takes place on the unit between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. This is a time when the lights will be dim to promote a healing environment. When visiting, please use the red phone on the wall outside of the main entrance of the ICU to notify the staff of your request to enter the nursing unit. In the event of an emergency within the ICU, all visitors will be asked to step out of the unit and wait in the ICU  waiting room adjacent to the unit. 

​Flowers, Gifts and Personal Items

Many visitors like to bring or send flowers and gifts. Cards and balloons are welcome; however, flowers and fruit baskets are not allowed in the ICU. Before bringing in any food from home, please check with the nursing staff.


In order to support the Maryland Hospital Association initiative, all patients admitted to the ICU will be tested for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA. MRSA is a bacteria that can cause serious infections. If your loved one tests positive for MRSA, he or she will be isolated from other patients while being treated. While your loved one is isolated, you will need to wear special protective clothing provided by the hospital while you visit.


You will notice that there is a white board located in each patient room. This board is used to identify the care providers each day. The names of the nurses and doctors caring for your loved one, the day and date, and any other information will be communicated on this board. Team discussions regarding your loved one’s care will occur every weekday morning at 10 a.m. Families are more than welcome to participate. Upon your loved one’s admission to the ICU, the nursing staff will ask you to designate a family member or caregiver as the patient spokesperson.

Infection prevention

To prevent infection, all staff will be expected to wash their hands before and after caring for patients. All visitors are encouraged to wash their hands before entering and when leaving a patient room. To support this, there is hand sanitizer in every patient room.