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Family Information

Critical Care Lounge

family members in waiting roomFamily and friends can wait in the Critical Care Lounge during surgery and while the patient is in Critical Care. It is here that you will receive surgical updates from a registered nurse in the intensive care unit.

Families should always check in at the front desk with the Critical Care Lounge receptionist. Please leave a phone number where you can be contacted. The receptionist will let you know about staying overnight in the waiting room.

Critical Care Lounge Guidelines

Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to visit in the critical care unit. This is for the child’s protection as much as the patient’s protection.

Because our space is limited, we ask that families limit long-term and overnight stays to two people per patient

General Visiting Hours

Fort Sanders Regional

General visiting hours at Fort Sanders Regional are 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Visiting hours for the Cardiovascular ICU are:

9:15 a.m. – 10 a.m.
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
4:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
9 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Methodist Medical Center

General visiting hours at Methodist Medical Center are 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.  Visiting hours for the Critical Care Units are:

1- a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
1  p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
8:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Parkwest Medical Center

General visiting hours at Parkwest Medical Center are 8:30 a.m.- 8:30 p.m.  Visiting hours for the Critical Care Units are:

8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
8:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
10:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.

The welfare and recovery of our patients is our top priority.  We ask that guests provide special courtesy and sensitivity in scheduling visits.

For more information, contact your hospital’s Critical Care Lounge or Waiting Room at:

Fort Sanders (865) 541-1683
Methodist (865) 835-4178
Parkwest (865) 373-1557


Surgery Updates

Patient status updates will be given when surgery begins, when advancements are made, and again when the surgery is almost over. These updates are not based on a timed schedule.

Please note:  family wait time may seem long. Operations take several hours and every surgery is different. Time is needed to prepare and complete the procedure in addition to transporting and settling the patient in the intensive care unit. 

The surgeon will let you know how the procedure went and exactly what was done once the surgery is complete.


Visiting for the First Time

Open heart patients are recovered in the intensive care unit by a specialized team of nurses. The first visit with a loved one after surgery will be limited to about 10-15 minutes, as this is still a very critical time.  Visits will then be coordinated on a specific schedule, depending on stability of vital signs or procedures.

The first visit can sometimes be a little scary for family and friends. You can touch and hold the patient’s hand gently. 

Expect your loved one immediately after surgery to:

  • look pale and feel cool to the touch
  • not be awake
  • be swollen
  • have a breathing tube in their mouth to help them breathe (note:  the breathing tube will prohibit the patient from talking)
  • have an IV in the neck with wires coming out
  • have sticker electrodes on their chest with wires attached to a monitor
  • have several IV bags hanging and possibly blood being given
  • have several monitors in the room that make noises
  • have drainage tubes with bloody drainage coming out beneath the incision
  • have small temporary wires that may be connected to a box
  • have a foley catheter to drain urine from bladder