Nearly a year old PICU is caring for the sickest kids

Marie Curley, RN-BC
Nurse manager, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

March 19, 2014

Last spring Providence St. Vincent Medical Center opened a new pediatric care unit, or PICU, to care for the community’s most critically ill children. Since then the unit has helped more than 68 children – from birth to age 18 – with conditions that have ranged from respiratory distress to seizure.

PICU graph

The four-bed PICU is flexible enough to expand to six beds when needed and is staffed with an experienced team trained in pediatric medicine. The team is led by medical director Mitchell Ross, M.D., a pediatric intensivist, and includes nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, case managers, social workers and child life specialists.

Before the unit opened on April 29, critically ill children who were admitted to the ED or who became too ill to be cared for in the pediatric unit were sent across town to another hospital. The transitions and handovers added stress for families already in crisis. 

The new PICU aims to make the hospital experience as positive as possible for patients and their families. Our success has been measured in part by the overwhelming notes of gratitude that we receive from patients and families.