Understanding why kids may be sent to PICU

The pediatric intensive care unit , or PICU, provides care for kids who need the highest possible level of monitoring. The PICU is also home to treatments and therapies that generally cannot be conducted in other parts of the hospital, such as ventilators. Having a child in the PICU can be stressful for parents, so understanding the reasons behind a doctor’s decision to send your child to the unit can be helpful. Here are some of the reasons your child may be admitted to the PICU.

They need more intensive supervision.
In the PICU, the nurse to patient ratio is higher, which means there are more nurses and fewer patients. This allows the medical team to spend more time monitoring each patient. If a child needs to have his or her condition closely monitored, he or she may be moved to the PICU where they can receive more individualized care.

They are taking medicines with serious side effects.
Some medicines that children are given in the hospital can potentially trigger serious side effects. In this instance children may be moved to the PICU to closely monitor and treat any side effects that may occur.

Medicines that children may receive while in the PICU include:

  • Morphine
  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine

Vigilant monitoring and immediate access to critical care devices in the PICU makes it safer for kids to take these kinds of medications. Some medications are exclusively administered in the PICU.

They need breathing help.
Generally, kids who need to be on a ventilator are placed in the PICU. No matter what kind of ventilator a child is put on, he or she will receive pain medications and sedatives while receiving care. This combination of treatments is easier to monitor in the PICU.

At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, we know how scary it can be to have your child admitted to the PICU. Our team of pediatric specialists in Thousand Oaks is always available to answer your questions while providing high-quality, compassionate critical care for your child. Learn more about all of our hospital services or request a referral to one of our providers by calling (877) 888-5746.

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