Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)


  • Parents/primary caregivers are welcome in the PICU 24 hours a day. Other family members are encouraged to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Entrance and exit will be through the Emergency Department after 8 p.m.
  • Special visitation hours may be arranged at the discretion of the nursing staff.
  • During your stay, parents are required to wear a green parent bracelet to travel beyond the first floor. A visitation pass will be provided to all others visiting, and is valid for the day only. A new pass may be obtained at the Welcome Center, located in front of the elevators. Children 12 years and younger will be given a brief health screen upon arrival.
  • Do not visit if you are sick or if you have been exposed to the flu, chickenpox or measles. All visitors should be healthy and free from any cold, flu or abdominal symptoms within the last 24 to 48 hours.
  • A visit of a sibling under 12 will be coordinated by your nurse so that a child life specialist can make preparations for the visit and determine the best time and/or the length of the visit.
  • Children visiting the PICU should be supervised by their guardian at all times.
  • One overnight support person, unless otherwise arranged, will be allowed to stay at the patient bedside. Please discuss this with your bedside nurse/charge nurse so that accommodations may be made.
  • Parents/primary care providers (up to four individuals) living 50 miles or more from the hospital may be eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.
  • Please respect the privacy and dignity of other patients by remaining at your child’s bedside and in your child’s room while visiting.
  • Please limit visitors to two at the patient’s bedside.
  • Wash your hands before and after your visit.
  • If your child is placed in isolation, visitors and staff will be required to wear special clothing and gear before entering. Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed to visit patients in isolation.
  • Please be sensitive to the volume of conversations to maintain a low level of noise.
  • During the evening hours, we ask that cell phones/pagers, be placed on silent mode or on low so that sleep can be maximized.
  • Parents are allowed to have food at the patient bedside. We ask that if the patient is NPO, parents be respectful and eat in the waiting area.
  • Fresh plants and flowers are not allowed in the PICU.
  • Mylar balloons and cards are always welcome at your child’s bedside. Latex balloons are discouraged due to the potential allergic response to latex as well as choking hazards for children.
  • To maintain privacy, there will be times when you will be asked to leave the unit during bedside procedures and codes.
  • The PICU waiting room is located in front of the elevators.

Check for any restrictions due to patient condition.

What You May See

pediatric-intensive-careThe patient may have multiple tubes and lines in place in the PICU. At right is a picture of the different types of tubes/lines that may be present. Your child may have some, none or all of these. For questions about these, please ask your child’s nurse.


A flexible plastic tube for withdrawing fluids from, or introducing fluids into, a cavity of the body.

#2 Endotracheal tube (ET Tube)

A tube that serves as an artificial airway inserted through the patient’s nose or mouth to help breathing. The patient will be unable to speak as long as the endotracheal tube is in place.

#3 Central venous pressure (CVP Line)

A very thin tube that is inserted into a vein to measure the venous blood pressure (the pressure of the blood as it returns to the heart).


Round electrode pads located on the patient’s chest to monitor heart rate and rhythm.

#5 Blood pressure cuff

Measures blood pressure.

#6 GI tube

A tube inserted through a surgical opening into the stomach. It is used to introduce liquids, food or medication into the stomach.

#7 Chest tubes

Tubes inserted into the chest between the lung and ribs to allow fluid and air to drain from the area surrounding the lungs. Chest tubes drain into a large plastic container near the foot of the patient’s bed. The patient may have one or more of these tubes in place.

#8 Intravenous (IV)

Tubing inserted into a vein through which fluids and medications can be given.

#9 Arterial line

A very thin tube inserted into one of the patient’s arteries (usually in the arm) to allow direct measurement of the blood pressure and to measure the concentration of oxygen at regular intervals.

#10 Pulse oximeter

Sensor with a light. Usually located on a finger/toe that monitors oxygen saturation.

#11 Foley catheter

A tube inserted into the urinary bladder for drainage of urine. The urine drains through the tube into a plastic bag hanging low by the foot of the bed.

You may also see:

Monitor, Intensive Care

A TV-like screen with a continuous display of different wave forms representing different pressures and activities in the body such as blood pressure, intracranial pressure and EKG.


A machine that assists breathing.