nurse holding the hand of a baby in the PICU

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

When your child is critically ill, has a serious injury or is recovering from a major surgery, they will probably spend time in the pediatric intensive care unit, or PICU.

Reasons for intensive care

  • Most PICU patients come from the emergency room or critical care transport due to severe breathing problems, serious infections, heart conditions or accidental injuries
  • Many are recovering from surgery, surrounded by a high level of supervision and specialized care
  • Any child whose medical needs are too acute for the main medical floors goes to the PICU
blue and white AACN Beacon Award for Excellence logo

Why Wolfson

The PICU at Wolfson Children’s has achieved silver-level status by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. This means excellence in quality and safety, outstanding outcomes, parent satisfaction and a healthy environment.

Our 7-story Critical Care Tower is home to all our intensive care units, which require a higher nurse-to-patient ratio that anywhere else in the hospital. Nurses’ stations are centrally positioned outside pods comprised of four rooms, allowing them to easily view their patients.

How is the PICU different from other areas of the hospital?

  • Higher nurse-to-patient ratio than anywhere else in the hospital, meaning each nurse cares for fewer patients so they have more time to spend with your child
  • Every patient is continuously monitored from a central location
  • Each child has a private room equipped with technology that allows our specially trained nurses to quickly check on or update your child's electronic medical record without leaving the room
close up of infant girl in the PICU holding the hand of a nurse

The PICU Team

Our family-centered care philosophy means we consider you an important part of your child’s health care team. The rest of the team includes:

  • Physicians certified in pediatric critical care medicine and direct care and are accompanied by a number of specialists
  • PICU nurses are among the most highly trained and most have advanced degrees and certifications
  • Respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists and nutritionists

Support Services

  • Advanced Life Support: We use ECMO and ventricular assist devices to provide the highest level of care to the most critically ill children.
  • Child Life Specialists: These crucial members of the care team help calm fears and provide distractions during procedures.

Critical Care Transport

Children who require short or long-range transfer to our PICU can be transported by our mobile ICU vehicles, helicopter or plane.

Patient Stories