Children’s intensive care provides medical and nursing care for critically ill children from birth to 16 years.
Children can become critically ill when one or more of their organs start to fail. This can cause them to become so ill there is a risk that they may die.
Children’s intensive care aims to support children through their illness until they recover to continue life with their family.
Critical illness can be cause by a number of reasons
- children may be born with physical problems (called a congenital abnormality)
- becoming ill because of overwhelming infection
- they have an accident that threatens their life
- a deterioration in the an existing medical condition (for example cancer, epilepsy or asthma).
Types of care
Our paediatric intensive care unit (also known as Ward 12) looks after children and young people in two different ways;
High dependency care
As a minimum children with a critical illness may need close monitoring by nursing and medical staff.
Where some children need life support machines and complex drug therapies to support their organs during their illness. This type of care is provided on Ward 12 at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
If your child becomes critically ill whilst at the Great North Children’s Hospital they will be transferred to Ward 12 from their ward. If your child becomes critically ill in a different hospital within the North East or Cumbria they will be transported to us by the North East’s specialist retrieval service – NECTAR.
Children’s intensive care is coordinated by a paediatric intensivist, an expert in managing the medical support needed by critically ill children. They will also collaborate with other hospital consultants if your child has a pre existing condition or is going to have long term effects from their critical illness.
Children are cared for by specially trained nurses supported by the PIC Sister / Charge Nurse. An experienced doctor in training will also be readily available to support your child under the guidance of the Paediatric Intensivist.
You will also meet many other health care professionals including physiotherapists, pharmacists dieticians and other therapists. They will introduce themselves and explain their role in the care of your child.