It can be frightening whenever kids are in the hospital — and even more so when they're admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). But a basic understanding of the people and equipment in the PICU can help you feel less scared and better prepared to help your child recover.
The PICU is the section of the hospital that provides sick children with the highest level of medical care. It differs from other parts of the hospital, like the general medical floors, in that the PICU allows intensive nursing care and continuous monitoring of things like heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.
The PICU also allows medical staff to provide therapies that might not be available in other parts of the hospital. Some of these more intensive therapies include ventilators (breathing machines) and certain medicines that can be given only under close medical supervision.
How long kids will be in the PICU depends on their condition — some might stay a single day; others might need to stay for weeks or even months. As always, ask the doctor or nurse caring for your child if you have questions.