What is a PICU?
A pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is a specialized unit to provide care for critically ill or injured kids.
As a Level II pediatric trauma center and a pediatric verified regional burn center, Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital cares for more than 1,000 critically ill and injured patients annually.
The Jeffrey Paul and Grace Kathryn Feather PICU at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital, renovated and expanded in July 2021, provides leading-edge critical care close to home for families in our community.
The Jeffrey Paul and Grace Kathryn Feather PICU includes:
- 12 patient care rooms – Two negative pressure rooms protect children at risk of infection and allow us to care for them in a safe environment away from other children. A specially designed bariatric-compliant room ensures comfort and safety for all patients. And rooms with expanded capability for dialysis treatment mean children don’t need to leave the PICU for treatment.
- Dedicated lounge – This private, dedicated lounge space and reception area is just for families of our PICU patients.
- Expert staff – Our specialty-trained pediatric intensive care staff provides 24/7 coverage. Our team includes pediatric critical care physicians, pediatric critical care nurses, respiratory care therapists and pediatric pharmacists. We have the most experienced board-certified pediatric ICU specialists in the area, so parents can rest assured that we will meet all the needs of their seriously ill or injured child in the PICU.
Who cares for my child in the PICU?
The Jeffrey Paul and Grace Kathryn Feather PICU is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by pediatric intensivists. 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.
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 the Jeffrey Paul and Grace Kathryn Feather 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
The Jeffrey Paul and Grace Kathryn Feather 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.
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 55-inch interactive TVs and access to a laptop and video game systems
- All rooms have space for parents to sleep so they can remain in the same room as their child (parents can also stay close by in our family overnight sleep space or at the Hackerman-Patz House)
- Patient rooms identifiable by colorful animals such as the “Blue Bear” room or “Red Rabbit” room
Certified child-life specialists help kids cope with a visit to the hospital. They are experts in child development, and they partner with doctors, nurses, social workers and other members of your care team to meet the unique needs of your child and your family.
The child-life program at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital is the only one in the area where child-life specialists help children receiving medical treatment by offering opportunities for stress relief and relaxation, as well as distractions to make procedures easier.
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
- Specialty follow-up referrals