The Critical Care team provides care in difficult situations.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Critically ill children with a wide variety of medical needs receive state-of-the-art care in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

The PICU has 20 beds, each in its own private room in order to allow patients and their families to spend quality, quiet time with each other. Each bed is monitored, and vital signs such as heart rate and respiratory rate are recorded and can be viewed by the doctors, nurses and other care providers at the patient's bed side or at a central nursing station.

Last year, over 900 critically ill children from North Carolina and the Southeast were cared for by the doctors and nurses in the PICU. These children had a variety of life-threatening medical and surgical conditions that necessitated their admission to the PICU.

Family-Centered Care

Families are an important and essential part of the care team in the PICU, and research has shown that a familiar face at a child's bedside eases anxiety and speeds their recovery. Parents are encouraged to spend time with their child at the bedside, learning about their child's medical needs and providing love and support.

For families traveling to Chapel Hill, our social workers and nursing staff can assist with lodging through referrals to the Ronald McDonald House.

A waiting room is located just outside of the PICU and families may use the space to relax.

Families are also involved in providing feedback on ways we can improve our care in the PICU. We include PICU family advisors in a multidisciplinary advisory group, as well as project teams and focus groups. A Six Sigma Green Belt project, which includes a family advisor team member, focuses on improving daily communication between the PICU care team and patients/families.

We partner with family advisors to create and refine tools and other materials, ensuring a patient- and family-centered approach. 

Working for Improvement

The PICU aims to provide a coordinated approach for improving the quality and safety of care for critically ill pediatric patients at N.C. Children's Hospital. The PICU Clinical Operations group, comprised of physician leaders, nurse managers, pediatric respiratory therapy manager, infection control nurse liaisons and case managers, meets monthly to oversee a variety of education, quality and patient safety initiatives. A larger multidisciplinary advisory group meets quarterly to review team progress, address issues impeding progress and share lessons learned.

Measures related to our goals of eliminating hospital-acquired infections and implementing patient- and family-centered care are followed by the UNC Department of Pediatrics Quality and Safety Program For more information on how we are improving our care, we encourage you to visit their website.

Read tips and advice from other parents who’ve had a child in the PICU about ways you can care for your child and your family during this time.

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