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Intensive care unit (ICU)

What we do

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is where we care for patients who are extremely sick and need constant close monitoring and support from staff, machines and medicine to keep normal body functions going. It can be quite an intimidating place to visit as people here are very sick and often need a lot of machines to help them.

Visiting hours

Visiting hours are between 2pm and 7.30pm, although you may be able to arrange different times with the nurse in charge of the unit if these hours are difficult for you.

Who can visit?

We ask that visiting is limited to immediate family and special friends to prevent the patients from getting over-tired. Visitors are limited to 2 per bed, due to a lack of space and to not disturb the other patients.

Children can visit the unit, but only under special circumstances and at the discretion of their parents and the nurse in charge.

To maintain patient confidentiality you may be asked to wait outside during doctors’ ward rounds and nurses’ handover.

What to expect

The ICU can be quite a frightening place to visit as the patients here are very sick and need a lot of machines to help them. The unit can be quite noisy, which can be unsettling. There may be beeping noises or even an occasional alarm sound. This in normal and does not necessarily mean something is wrong.

Your relative might look very different as they may be attached to a lot of machines to help the staff monitor their condition or to help them with their recovery. This sight can be upsetting and confusing for visitors to the unit but the staff are there to help you and explain anything you don’t understand.


There are three Intensive Care Units within the Trust. Two are located within the Thomas Kemp tower Block at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, one on level 5 and one on level 7 and one is on the first floor of the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath.

The Brighton ones can be accessed from the entrance next to A&E but the easiest way to get here is to follow the signs from the main car park.

For Princess Royal Hospital take any lift to the first floor and follow the signs for the Intensive Care Unit.

Further information

Visit the BSUH ICU website


Patient information

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