For Parents of PICU Patients

When your child is admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, also known as the PICU, it is natural to have many questions. Children are admitted to this unit because they need more specialized care and closer observation than children in the Pediatrics Unit.

At Cabell Huntington Hospital, we believe in family-centered care. That means we are concerned about your needs as well as your child's, and we will do many things to make your child's stay here easier for everyone.

We will explain your child's treatment plan and the equipment we are using. Don't hesitate to ask the doctor or nurse any questions you may have. Sometimes it is easy to forget information about your child's treatment because you are worried. Feel free to repeat questions if you forget the answers or don't understand them.

Having a seriously ill or injured child is traumatic for the entire family. During your child's stay in the PICU, you may need to talk to someone about how your child's illness is affecting you. The nurses may ask you how you are feeling, and a member of the hospital's Social Services Department may check with you to provide counseling if necessary.

What about visiting?

We recognize that you and your child need each other; therefore, one parent or guardian may stay with each child at all times. In addition, another visitor may stay in the Intensive Care family waiting room 24 hours a day. Other family members and close friends may visit briefly two times each day, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and from 5:30 to 6 p.m. If you come to visit a PICU patient, please ring the doorbell outside the unit and wait for a nurse to answer.

Please do not enter the PICU until a nurse grants you admittance. During the admission of a new patient, while a new medical procedure is performed for your child or another patient or if another situation warrants privacy, a doctor or nurse may ask you to step out of the unit for a few minutes.

If you plan to stay 24 hours a day...

We encourage parents or guardians to stay with their children in the PICU; however, to help your child recover, you must also take care of yourselves. To keep up your strength and energy, you must eat regular meals. A cafeteria and a snack bar are located on the ground floor of the hospital, and meal hours are listed outside the cafeteria doors.

No food or drinks may be brought into the PICU or waiting room. If a special situation arises, the nursing supervisor or the Social Services Department staff may arrange for you to receive a meal tray on the unit or have meal tickets for use in the cafeteria.

Reclining chairs are available at your child's bedside so you can be more comfortable; however, the PICU stays busy and active 24 hours a day, so be aware that sleep without interruption is rare. Night clothes should not be worn in the unit or in the waiting room.

Updating family members about your child's condition

If you do not plan to stay 24 hours a day or if you would like to go home for a break, we promise to keep in touch with you. You may call the PICU at 304-526-2399 at any time of the day or night for a report on you child's condition.

Because your family and friends are also concerned about your child, it is helpful if you appoint one familymember as a representative to make these calls. With one phone call to the unit, the representative can inform everyone in your family about your child's condition. This system keeps your family informed while freeing the staff to care for your child.

What can you bring your child?

You may bring pajamas, toys, cards and small flower arrangements for your child. Because of choking hazards, only mylar balloons are permitted in CHH. Check with the nurse first to be sure about what gifts are appropriate.

  • Last updated: 03/25/2013
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