UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
The state-of-the-art pediatric and cardiac intensive care unit at UC Davis Children’s Hospital offers care for the most critically ill and injured children.
Each year, the PICU treats more than 1,000 infants, children and adolescents who experience traumatic injuries or life-threatening infectious diseases, or have undergone surgery to correct complex birth defects such as congenital heart anomalies. Renowned for telemedicine capabilities, UC Davis has two completely integrated telemedicine units that extend the PICU’s reach to communities throughout California.
The unit has a 2-to-1 nurse-to-patient ratio, and critical care medicine physicians are on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Opened in 2011 in expanded facilities, the state-of-the-art, family-centered Pediatric Intensive Care Unit encompasses 25,000 square feet. The PICU has 24 beds as well as oversized rooms giving caregivers easy access to respiratory ventilators, kidney dialysis machines and extra-corporeal life support (ECLS) equipment.
The large, single-patient rooms enhance family-centered care. They accommodate a sleeping sofa and a chair in each room, which enables family members to remain at their child's bedside around the clock. Each room has its own television and bathroom.
All children who become ambulatory during recovery have access to an activity room with music, art and play therapy provided by the hospital's Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. The program supports children's healing with positive reinforcement to relieve the stress and anxiety of hospitalization.
Using the most advanced life-support and monitoring equipment available, along with examinations, intensive care medical staff members maintain vigil over the vital signs of patients. They closely observe and assess bodily fluid levels, medication, sedation, nourishment, breathing and other critical functions, administer pain-relieving drugs and scrutinize bodily responses for any signs of infection or other risks. Their nurturing care guides patients through the critical hours or days following a medically traumatic event.
Extra-corporeal life support, or ECLS, is a life-saving technique used when a patient’s heart and/or lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer support the life of the patient. The application of ECLS can replace the function of the lungs and/or heart to allow these organs the time to heal. Extra-corporeal life support is more than a heart-lung machine it is the equipment, personnel, training and commitment that are necessary to make a successful program.
We also provide consultive services for physicians caring for children throughout Northern California through the use of our pediatric telemedicine services. Telemedicine is a high-resolution video and audio fiber-optic system that makes critical care specialists at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital instantaneously accessible to emergency room physicians at hospitals in outlying smaller towns.
Physicians can see each other and view patients and medical records using the system. The telemedicine link enables UC Davis pediatric emergency medicine and critical care physicians to offer consultations for acutely ill and injured children in small hospitals distant from Sacramento. On a case-by-case basis, the consulting UC Davis physicians can help determine whether such children can be safely and effectively treated in their hometown hospitals, or whether they should be transported to UC Davis Children’s Hospital if they require advanced treatment or specialized care.