Critical care medicine

Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Doernbecher Children's Hospital

We provide care to critically ill or injured pediatric patients from birth to young adulthood. The PICU team cares for children across a vast spectrum of health issues including trauma, surgery, respiratory, cardiac, hematology/oncology and neurologic disorders.

Round the clock care from critical care experts

Board certified pediatric intensivists staff the PICU 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They collaborate with many medical and surgical services to provide comprehensive care to critically ill children. The PICU intensivists also direct the transport of critically ill children to our unit from other hospitals in Oregon, Washington and the surrounding states.

PICU nurses and other specialists

Pediatric intensive care nurses are specially trained to provide state of the art care to infants, children and adolescent patient who require the highest level of medical or post surgical nursing care. Many PICU nurses are certified to provide pediatric critical care through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). All PICU nurses are certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).

The PICU team also includes other personnel who have been specially trained to care for critically ill children and their families including: respiratory therapists, nutritionists, pharmacologists, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, child life specialists, hospital aides, and health unit coordinators.

PICU information for families and visitors

The PICU is committed to caring for critically ill or injured children and their families in a family centered care environment. We consider parents and primary caregivers as essential members of their child’s healthcare team. We need your partnership to provide the best care for your child.  Parents are encouraged to attend multidisciplinary rounds, where the PICU team will plan your child’s care for the day.

Parents guide to life in the PICU

Parents and primary caregivers are welcome in the PICU 24 hours a day and may spend the night in the PICU. A daybed is provided in the back of each patient room as well as a bathroom for family use. Healthy siblings may visit but due to safety and space concerns may not sleep in the unit overnight.

Pain management

While hospitalized, your child may experience varying levels of discomfort or pain.  Our goal is to make your child as comfortable as possible.  It is important to remember that some degree of pain is normal and expected following many procedures and most surgeries.  As parents, you can help by letting us know how your child expresses pain. You can support your child through touch, talking, music, etc.  Ask your team how to best support your child’s comfort.

Equipment and monitoring

You may see many pieces of equipment involved in your child’s care. Most make sounds or have alarms that provide information to staff caring for your child.  Not all sounds mean there is a problem.  The room monitors also display at 4 central monitors throughout the PICU.  Your child is always being monitored, even if the child's nurse or provider is not at the bedside.

PICU visiting hours

Parents and primary caregivers are welcome in the PICU 24 hours a day. Other family members are encouraged to visit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Please note

  • Nursing staff may request that only two additional visitors be allowed at the patient’s bedside at a time to allow for a peaceful, healing environment.
  • Flowers are not allowed in the PICU.
  • Please no children under 12, unless they are sibling(s) of the patient.
  • Free patient and visitor parking is available. See map and information