Al McGuire Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

Comprehensive care for critically ill children

Services include:

  • Specialized monitoring and life-support systems.
  • Invasive and noninvasive respiratory support for children who have problems breathing, including nitric oxide, high frequency oscillation, and both negative and positive pressure ventilation.
  • Flexible and rigid bronchoscopy.
  • Mechanical support devices, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, to provide temporary heart or lung bypass for newborns and children whose hearts and lungs are failing.
  • Ventricular assist devices, such as the Berlin Heart, HeartMate II, HeartWare and Syncardia temporary artificial heart, to bridge children in heart failure to transplant.

Balancing communication with privacy

Friends and relatives will want to know how your child is doing. To protect your family's privacy, your child's nurse will communicate your child's condition only to parents and grandparents. Ask a family member or friend to inform others about your child's progress. Make a list of who may visit. We will put it in your child's chart to inform other staff caring for your child.

Be with or near your child at all times

Visit, rest and talk with your family. For your comfort and convenience, we have family lounges only steps away from your child's room. Keep in mind that the lounges are small, so each family does need to limit the number of visitors in the lounge. Quiet hours are from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Family lounges offer a seating area complete with phone, computer and printer, table and chairs, and TV. A kitchenette has a microwave, coffeemaker, refrigerator, toaster and counter area to prepare food. We provide disposable paper products. A washer and dryer, including a machine with laundry soap, and folding table also are available.

Most patient rooms have a single sleeper couch for parents or grandparents to stay overnight. Appropriate sleep attire is required – pajamas or sweats. We'll supply a pillow and linens; you will need your own toiletries. Children's limits overnight guests to adults only.

For extended stays, there's Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House is located across the street from Children's for longer family stays. For help or more information, please contact Family Services at (414) 266-2800.

Transporting critically ill children

Children's Transport is a specialized pediatric medical team. Directed by a pediatric critical care specialist, the team stabilizes, cares for and transports critically ill or injured infants and children from other medical centers to Children's, by ambulance, helicopter, or airplane.

Visiting your child

Parents, grandparents, and legal guardians can visit at any time. Other visitors are limited to two at a time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Siblings may visit, but pre-scheduled visits are needed for those younger than 14 years old. Ask your child's nurse or Child Life specialists for assistance with younger siblings who may need help and support before visiting the PICU.