The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a fully equipped unit that receives patients who get admitted because they need extra care. Most admissions are to control serious infections that may occur after receiving intensive chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation. Additionally, many patients are admitted after surgery for observation. Of note, rooms are HEPA filtered, which guarantees that only clean air with no small particles gets into the room.
While in the PICU, patients have private rooms where they can stay, accompanied by one family member. Each room has an assigned nurse who spends the whole day observing their assigned patients and providing all the necessary care needed.
Monitors of oxygen, blood pressure and heart rate are observed centrally in the unit. If anything goes wrong with any of the patients, the nurse in charge will know immediately as well. Of course, nurses in the PICU have special training to be able to handle the sickest patients admitted to the unit.
Often, patients need multiple infusions of drugs to keep the blood pressure stable and drugs to control infection and treat other ailments. For that reason, patients are connected to multiple lines and catheters. This might be the cause of severe distress to the patient and his/her family. We feel that supporting our patients and their families while in the PICU requires the involvement of social workers, play therapists, and psychotherapists.
After stabilization, patients return to their rooms in the floor. We attempt to make this transition as soon and as smooth as possible. When they return to the floor room, strict infection control is practiced to make sure that no “colonization” with harmful bacteria had occurred during the transfer.
The team of the PICU consists of well-trained doctors and nurses. We have 2 full time consultants, 7 rotating pediatricians, and 44 registered nurses; all working hard to ensure the safety of every patient admitted to the unit.