**Please note: We are a scent-free and fragrance-free organization**

Many people are sensitive or have allergies to fragrances and so we ask visitors to please respect the following guidelines:

  • Do not bring any flowers or plants
  • Do not bring in any scented products, such as soaps or scented ornaments
  • Do not use scented products, such as perfume or cologne, prior to visiting the ICU

We work hard to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of all our patients and to meet the needs of visitors. You may hear information pertaining to patients and we ask that you keep this information to yourself and to respect the privacy of others.

Who can visit?

The patient and/or the patient’s family decide who they would like to visit the patient.

All patients in the ICU are very ill and on account of our space being limited, we ask that the number of visitors at the bedside be limited to two at a time.

Exceptions to the rules are made depending on the patient’s or family’s needs. If you have any questions regarding visitation, please discuss with the bedside nurse and ask any member of the critical care team about children visiting the ICU.

Entering the ICU:

On your first visit, please use the entry phone, which is located outside the door to the ICU, to gain entry to the unit.

Once you have been oriented to the unit, we ask that you let yourself into the unit by pushing the silver plate outside of the unit. If you come in and the curtains are closed in the room or bed space you are coming to visit, we ask that you go back out to the waiting room and come back in five minutes.

Visiting hours:

We encourage families and friends to visit as often as they wish, and so we do not have any specified visiting hours.

However, staff are busiest during the hours of 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. and may not be available to answer your questions due to end of shift work and handover to the next shift. We may also recommend that you do not visit during certain hours to allow your loved one time to recover. 

Find out more about our Family Presence Policy

Getting into the hospital after hours:

  • St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH): Enter via the Emergency Department starting from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.. You will need to check in with Security to gain access to the hospital.
  • Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (MSJ): Open to the public from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day. If you are visiting outside of these hours, please use either the Kingsway or Prince Edward entrance. There is a telephone outside of these entrances. When you pick it up, you will be connected to our security guard. The guard will come to the door and let you in.

Communicating with your loved one:

Patients who enter the ICU may be unconscious or semi-conscious, and those who are awake may find it difficult and/or frustrating to communicate. Some patients may or may not be able to communicate in writing.

We will do our best to show you some ways to communicate with your loved one, depending on their abilities.            

Helpful Information


  • St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH): Parking at SPH can be difficult since the hospital parkade is almost always filled up by 8:00 a.m., and it can cost up to $12/day (lower rates available for two-week passes). Further, proximal, parking is available at:
  • Mount Saint Joseph (MSJ): The hospital parking lot has paid parking. You may find free parking on some of the side streets around the hospital.

Bus routes/Sky Train:

The most up to date routes and schedules can be found on Translink

Places to eat:

  • SPH:
    • Within the hospital:
      • Cafeteria: 4th Floor Providence Building (one floor up from the ICU); open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday to Friday
      • Coffee Cart: Main Floor Burrard Building by front entrance off of Burrard Street and the information desk; open from 6:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    • Around the hospital: 
      • There are many grocery stores and restaurants along Davie Street (1 block south of the hospital)
  • MSJ:
    • Within the hospital:
      • Cafeteria: Ground floor near the east elevators; open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., Monday to Friday
      • Vending machines: Ground floor beside the cafeteria
      • In the ICU family room, a kettle is available for your use
    • Around the hospital:
      • There are restaurants and grocery stores only a few minutes away from the hospital along  Main Street (two blocks west of the hospital) and Kingsway (half a block east of the hospital)


Please speak with the social worker about your accommodations. Some occasionally offer a discounted rate for families of Providence patients

  • SPH:
    • Sandman Suites on Davie: 1160 Davie St., 604-681-7263
    • Century Plaza: 1015 Burrard St., 604-687-0575
    • Ramada Inn: 1221 Granville St., 604-685-1111
    • Sheraton Wall Centre: 1088 Burrard St., 604-331-1000
  • MSJ:
    • Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel: 395 Kingsway, 604-872-5252
    • Best Western Uptown Hotel: 205 Kingsway, 604-267-2000


We’ve compiled a list of words and terms frequently used /heard in the ICU (e.g., machines and tubes). We hope that this will help to make your time on the unit easier. (click on the images below to enlarge)