Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

Caring for critical children

Critically ill infants, children and adolescents up to age 18 receive constant care, sophisticated monitoring and specialized therapies in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital. The PICU centers around twelve ICU beds located in a separate unit on the fifth floor of the Children’s Hospital tower.The PICU team includes four in-house, American-board-certified pediatric critical care physicians as well as in-house pediatric resident physicians.

The PICU provides the most advanced, family-focused care available in the in the Upstate to children of all ages and with a vast range of serious illnesses. The PICU supports a pediatric transport team, which will bring critically ill children within a radius of 50 miles to Children’s Hospital. A team of paramedics, specially trained respiratory therapists, pediatric intensivists and PICU critical care nurses are on call to transport critically ill children to the Children’s Hospital PICU by helicopter or ambulance, supervising their care all the way.

Each member of the unit’s medical staff is board-certified or board-eligible in pediatric critical care medicine. All staff members (physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other professionals) are highly trained and skilled in the care of critically ill and injured children. Additionally, a wide range of serious medical and surgical conditions are treated by the PICU staff members.

Children’s Hospital recognizes the importance of the entire family in the care of a critically ill child and encourages family involvement. During their child’s treatment in the PICU, parents have unlimited visiting hours and are encouraged to spend the night with their child. Patients will receive high-tech care in a high-touch, family-centered environment that supports parents and encourages them to take an active role during their child’s hospital stay.

The Children’s Hospital PICU is staffed by a full-time child life specialist who is specially trained to help children and families cope during their time in the hospital. The child life specialist is available to offer patients preparation for and support during procedures, as well as therapeutic activities at bedside.

The child life specialist is also available to support siblings, who may be visiting their brother or sister for the first time following surgery or a traumatic accident. In times of death, the child life specialist can offer grief and bereavement support for the family.

Some of the most common illnesses we see in the PICU are:

  • Respiratory failure (severe breathing problems)
  • Sepsis (serious infection)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Trauma, such as severe head injury