Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

The pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, located at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, is the only one of its kind in the region. Infants to teenagers have access to leading-edge critical care in a convenient location staffed by a team of caring and skilled providers.

The specialized pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by pediatric intensivists and hospitalists. These specialists have expert training to care for the unique needs of critically ill or injured children. They are available to respond to your needs or questions and include you in every treatment decision.

PICU physicians work closely with other pediatric subspecialists to deliver the exact level of care your child needs. Plus, our highly educated PICU nurses are certified in pediatric advanced life support. They are specifically trained to deliver intensive care to kids with compassion.

What is a PICU?

In the PICU, your child will receive intensive nursing care and constant monitoring of vital signs. We offer therapies that are specific to kids including machines to help kids breathe (ventilators).

Parents can rest assured that we will meet all the needs of their seriously ill or injured child in the PICU. The unit has a higher nurse-to-patient ratio so children can receive constant attention and care.

Dietitians with special pediatric education provide nutrition assessments for all children admitted to the PICU. Based on their assessments, we create a customized, kid-friendly nutrition plan to support each child’s recovery.

Other team members include:

  • Respiratory therapists with pediatric training to deliver breathing support
  • Physical and occupational therapists who help improve muscle strength and function
  • Pediatric-focused pharmacists for medication management

Who receives care in a PICU?

Any child whose needs cannot be met on a general medical floor will receive care in our PICU, including those who:

  • Have life-threatening illnesses like severe infections, breathing problems and uncontrolled seizures
  • Have severe traumatic injuries or burns
  • Have complex medical problems and are dependent on devices like ventilators
  • Are receiving hospice care and require inpatient care to alleviate pain or respond to a complex medical need

Support for PICU patients and family members

Our PICU is a patient- and family-centered unit where parents and families are included as part of the care team. We offer the support of social workers who can help with:

  • Housing and transportation needs while a child is in the hospital
  • Insurance concerns
  • Discharge planning to ensure the transition to home is safe

Our child-life program is the only one in the area where child-life specialists and volunteers focus on children’s social, emotional and intellectual growth while they are in the PICU.

Our team helps meet the needs of children receiving medical treatment by offering opportunities for stress relief and relaxation, as well as distractions to make procedures easier.

Child-focused environment

We focus on the social, emotional and intellectual needs of our pediatric patients through a positive, comfortable environment.

Our unit includes:

  • Comfortable patient rooms with a flat-screen TV, DVD player and access to a laptop and video game systems
  • Overnight rooms for parents to remain nearby, or sleeping chairs so they can be in the same room as their child (parents can also stay close by at the Hackerman-Patz House)
  • A playroom
  • Patient rooms as “safe zones” – all painful or invasive treatments occur in separate treatment rooms
  • Collaborative rounds by all care providers to ensure minimal disruptions
  • An afternoon quiet period that creates a low-stress, calming environment where children can take naps or rest and recover without interruption

Transition from PICU to home

Our pediatric clinicians make the transition from hospital to home easier. We provide direct care while helping you take on a larger role in assisting your child. Home care services include:

  • Non-ventilator respiratory care
  • Services for ventilator-dependent children
  • Tube feedings
  • Physical therapy and other range-of-motion exercises
  • Venipunctures, central line care and PICC lines

Get a second opinion

If your child has been diagnosed with a condition that needs surgery, we offer a second opinion service you can count on.

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