The Children’s Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first and only Children’s Intensive Care Unit in Wales, and cares for children from birth to 16 years of age. During your child’s stay they will be under the care of a Specialist Consultant experienced in Children's Intensive Care.
Each day you will be able to speak to the team of doctors caring for your child. There is a doctor on duty 24 hours a day. Your child will be cared for by a qualified children’s nurse experienced in intensive care on each shift. There are two main shifts – day and night duty.
All members of the PICU team will support you and keep you informed of your child’s condition and ongoing care. You will see lots of visiting teams such as Physiotherapists and staff in other uniforms that will help to provide care for your child. If you are unsure of who anyone is, please ask a member of the nursing team.
Your child will be nursed in one of the 8 bed areas on the PICU. They will have many wires and tubes attached to them. The wires provide important information about your child to the medical and nursing staff caring for them, and the tubes allow staff to give your child the medicine they need to keep them asleep and pain free and help them get better.
The PICU environment can be very stressful and you may feel you are surrounded by machines, bright lights and unfamiliar sounds. For these reasons, you may feel unable to cope or help your child.
There are many ways for you to continue to carry out your role as a parent to your child and we will encourage and support you to do so when you feel ready. Take a look at our useful Guide for Parents for further advice on how to cope yourself, and information about how to help siblings.
The amount of care you feel able to carry out and will depend on you. Many parents wish to help wash their child or change their nappy, while others are happy to watch until some of the tubes and wires have been removed.
Your child will be minimally clothed whilst on PICU so that the nurse can closely observe them. You may wish to bring in socks for your baby or particular items your child finds of comfort at home.
Your child will probably be able to hear you even if they are being kept asleep with medicine. They may therefore gain much comfort from the sound of your voice or the touch of your hand. You may like to bring in a favourite toy or blanket, read to them or play their favourite music. Remember you know your child best.
If you are breastfeeding your baby you may wish to express your milk, and equipment is available for you to do this. The nurse will provide you with the information you need. Your milk may then be given to your baby by one of the special tubes.
Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways you can help your child. This is an extremely stressful time for you, and it is important that you remain both physically and emotionally strong for your child.
There are waiting rooms near the PICU for you to use during your stay which have a television. There are a number of places to eat within the hospital, and staff will let you know how to find them. There are also a number of shops within the Concourse.
There are many people within the hospital to help and support you. Staff on PICU can provide you with the relevant information should you require any of their support.