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Intensive Care

What is intensive care following surgery?

Children who require close or specialized monitoring after surgery will spend time in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), depending on their age. Intensive care is needed for children who have had certain types of major surgery such as heart operations, organ transplants, or neurosurgery. After some surgeries, the patient may remain on a breathing machine and have special monitoring lines that measure pressures in major veins or arteries. In the ICU, your child will be closely watched 24 hours a day.

Learning about the intensive care unit's equipment:

ICUs are equipped with complex machines and monitoring devices designed for the unique needs of critically ill and postoperative children. Equipment may include the following:

How often will I be able to visit in the ICU?

Ask someone on your child's healthcare team, when you first arrive, about visiting hours. If needed, ask about services provided to families (such as social workers or chaplains, and telephone numbers to call from home) when you cannot be there with your child.

Will other physicians be seeing my child in the ICU?

Your surgeon may ask other specialized physicians to help manage your child's care while in the ICU. These specialists may include, but are not limited to, the following:

What can I do for my child while he/she in the ICU?

Even if he/she is receiving medication to control pain or help him/her sleep, your child needs to know you are there. The healthcare team that is caring for your child will be happy to suggest ways that you can comfort your child at every stage of recovery. They will also welcome suggestions from you regarding how to make your child feel more comfortable and secure. A child life specialist can be a great resource for showing you and your child relaxation and pain management skills. The following are a few things that you can do for your child while in ICU:

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Online Resources of The Child Having Surgery


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All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

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