Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
This booklet will provide you with useful information during your child’s stay is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health, please speak to the PICU team.
The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a special unit for children and young people who are seriously ill or recovering from major surgery.
- Parents and carers can visit anytime (day or night) and are encouraged to spend as much time with their child.
- Visitors who are under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- Non-relatives can visit between 10 am – 10 pm if they have been given approval from the parents. It is preferable that 2 persons visiting at one time.
Your child’s care team:
Caring for your child in intensive care requires a team of health professionals 24 hours a day.
A registered nurse will provide direct bedside care and will be in close attendance at all times during your child’s stay.
A Clinical Nurse Manager or Clinical Nurse leader will also be available to assist with any concerns or questions you may have about the care of your child.
At least two senior doctors are on PICU at all times. If you need to speak to a doctor, please ask your child’s nurse.
Other health care professionals who may visit your child to provide specialized services and support include:
- Respiratory Therapists provide respiratory support (Breathing), treatment, assist with getting your child out of bed as this improves their recovery time mobilization
- Pharmacists prepare and supply any medications that your child requires.
- Radiographers take X-rays with a portable machine in the unit
- Dieticians assess your child’s nutritional intake and provide nutrition therapy to reduce risk of malnutrition and assist in your child’s recovery back to good health
- Child Life Specialists help children understand, manage being in the hospital and help them (or their siblings) cope with the unfamiliar hospital environment
- Occupational therapists help maintain your child’s health while they are in the PICU. This may include working with nurses to keep your child’s skin healthy; looking after their hands if they are swollen or feeling stiff.
- Social workers are professionals who are trained to help you and your family understand and adjust to having a critically ill child
- Physiotherapists will support you and your child by developing programs that are aimed at maximizing your child’s physical capabilities
Breathing machines and machines that give your child medications:
While your child is in the PICU, they may be hooked up to various pieces of equipment. The most common equipment you may see include:
- A monitor positioned above your child displays their heartbeat, breathing rate, oxygen level and blood pressure. This information is recorded via the leads placed on your child’s chest
- Monitor alarms and beeps are often heard in PICU and can be frightening, but they do not necessarily mean there is something wrong. The bedside equipment is highly sensitive and sometimes just a small movement by your child can set off an alarm. Your child’s nurse will advise you if there is a concern. Avoid touching any of the equipment including silencing of alarms.
Daily routines in PICU:
- Nursing shift handover occurs every day between 7am and 7pm. At this time, all important information about your child’s care will be passed on to the next shift’s nursing team
- Ward rounds take place every morning and afternoon. During rounds, all health care professionals looking after your child will visit to check their progress. Parents/carers are invited to participate in the afternoon rounds
Keeping your child safe:
- Your child must wear his/her Patient identification (ID) band at all times. The band confirms your child’s name and essential details and ensures he/she receives the right treatment.
- Friends and family are asked not to visit if they are sick, or have recently been sick. This helps prevent the spread of infection to your child and other patients.
- You can eat and drink by the bedside but please keep this to a minimum. Be aware of eating in front of your child if they are not allowed to eat at that time. Please keep all hot drinks covered and away from your child.
- Fresh flowers and latex balloons are not permitted in the hospital because they can trigger allergic reactions in some patients.
- Wash your hands:
- When you enter and leave the unit, and before and after touching your child.
- Look for the ‘Five moments of hand hygiene’ posters in each bed space to learn the safest way to wash your hands.
If you leave the unit:
- Please tell your child’s nurse:
- where you will be
- your contact telephone number
- the time you expect to return
For the comfort of all patients and families, keep your mobile phones on silent/ vibrate before entering the unit. Wherever possible, please make or receive calls outside the PICU.
Parent and carer wellbeing:
Having a child in intensive care can be very stressful, so it is important for parents and carers to take some time to look after themselves, too. We encourage you to:
- Take frequent breaks from your child’s bedside
- Go for a walk outside and get some fresh air
- Sleep and rest when possible
- Eat and drink regularly. Be mindful when eating and drinking in front of your child as they may not be eating due to going for a procedure
- Express your feelings, fears and worries to staff or someone else you can talk to
- Write down any questions you have
For showering facilities, expressing milk and family waiting area please ask your child’s nurse for directions. Meals are not provided
If you need to take a walk but don’t want to go too far, there are healing gardens just situated off PICU. Ask your child’s nurse to direct you to them.
Each room has a pull-out bed for you to sleep/rest on. We will provide you with blankets and pillows.
There is an Interpreting Service available in several languages such as Arabic, Hindi , Urdu, etc 24 hour a day and some of our staff are bilingual. If an interpreter is not available in person then a telephone interpreter will be used.
Transfer from PICU
When your child is no longer requires intensive care services, he/she will be transferred to one of the hospital’s general units for further care. The PICU Outreach Team will follow up with your child and you to ensure a smooth transition from PICU. We are generally able to anticipate the time of discharge but please keep in mind that times may vary due to unexpected circumstances. Your child’s health care provider will try to discuss this with you, however if your child is Transferred early, they will contact you by phone or in person beforehand. It is important to always let our nursing staff know how we can contact you if you leave the unit.
You are always welcome to speak to a member of staff about any problems or suggestions to improve our daily activities. Please complete a feedback survey prior to transfer which will assist us in improving our service delivery.
You can start the survey by scanning the code to complete the survey on your mobile phone
Also you can visit www.sidra.org and leave us your feedback.
Cardiac PICU : 400333454 / 40033457
General PICU: 400333497/ 40033498