Your child's care in PICU

Being in the PICU is different from being in a regular hospital ward. The intensive care environment and the experiences of parenting a critically ill child can be challenging. 

Your child may look very different with all the monitoring and care equipment surrounding them. There may be swelling, skin tone differences and your child will likely not be wearing pyjamas. Your child may also act differently, depending on his or her age and how awake he or she is while in PICU. Your child may be very sleepy or unusually restless.

Your bedside nurse and the other members of the team are there to explain these changes and help you to anticipate what will happen next. We recognise that you are the expert about your child and need you to help determine your child’s needs with us. Together we can make sure your child is comfortable, rests well and is supported toward recovery.

It’s important to ask questions about things that you notice about your child and the PICU care.

Because your child requires specialised care, there will be a number of different health-care providers will be involved with your child’s care. The PICU team will coordinate and communicate with your child’s other doctors and team members during your time in PICU.

Daily rounds

Every day a pod will be assigned to your child’s and they will work with your child’s nurse to answer all your questions.

Let the bedside nurse know you have questions or issues to discuss and they will arrange for the right person to meet with you.

Each day one of our intensive care consultants will see your child to check on their progress. These visits are called rounds and occur at your child’s bedside, and are attended by the bedside registered nurse, PICU doctors (consultant, fellow and registrar), nurse team leader / access nurse and a nurse practitioner.

Morning rounds commence at 8am with afternoon round starting from 3pm. During rounds, your child’s condition will be discussed with plans made for the day.

You are welcome to be present and are encouraged to ask questions at the end of the round.

Medical procedures

Sometimes medical procedures take place in PICU.

Some of these procedures are planned and some are emergencies. If a procedure is happening to another child in your child’s room we will ask all family members of the other children to wait outside the room.

If your child is having a procedure while in PICU, you can discuss with your nurse how we can help you to support your child during the procedure. Each situation is different and a plan for the procedure can be made ahead of time.

Keep in touch

You can call us day or night.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead

  • When you are at home or outside PICU, phone the main desk on (02) 7825 1171.
  • You can also contact your child’s bedside on 7825 15_ _ (bedside number i.e. bed 1, dial 01, bed 10 dial 10) and speak directly with your child’s nurse for progress reports.

Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

  • When you are at home or outside PICU, phone the main desk on (02) 9382 1156.

Information is given to parents or legal guardians. If we cannot come to the phone, someone will explain why. We will call you back as soon as possible.

Last updated Monday 26th February 2024