Critical Care (PICU)

Pediatricians from the Department of Pediatrics base see approximately 900 children (neonates to age 17) annually at the Stollery Children's Hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). The PICU is a 19-bed centre staffed by nine full-time pediatric intensivists. It serves as a major pediatric trauma centre for Northern Alberta as well as the referral centre for solid-organ transplants in Western Canada.

Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers, occupational therapists/physiotherapists and dieticians work together as a team to provide care for the unit’s young patients. As an academic program, a diverse group of learners, including a subspecialty training program in pediatric critical care, participate in the care provided.

As the referral centre for the Western Canadian Heart Network, the Stollery Children's Hospital performs approximately 450 open-heart surgeries per year, making it the second busiest congenital heart surgery program in Canada. The PICU also acts as the North American reference centre for Berlin Heart implantation.

In recent years, the PICU has nearly doubled its number of beds, becoming Canada’s second largest PICU. It is also one of only four centres in Canada to offer Neonatal and Pediatric Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a life-saving heart/lung bypass procedure for critically ill children. By way of providing support to its vast referral base, the PICU Transport program provides critical care to about 200 children per year.

The PICU views parents as full and active members in their child’s care team and encourages them to stay at the bedside during clinical bed rounds.