University Hospital of Wales Paediatric Intensive Care Unit Guideline Printed on Wed 23-jul-08
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Last updated March 7, 2019 8:21 AM

0300 0300 789

02920 744622

External links


029 2184 7322


Noah's Ark Childrens Hospital for Wales
Heath Park
CF14 4XW
02920 747747

Information for parents and families

Please also see Information for Children and Teenagers

The Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) comprises the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit serving the South and Mid-Wales region, and the Paediatric High Dependency Unit for the Noah's Ark Children's Hospital for Wales. It provides critical care for children from birth to 16 years of age.

During your child’s stay they will be under the care of a multi-disciplinary team of specialist staff, led by a Consultant Paediatric Intensivist. 
Each day you will be able to speak to the team of doctors caring for your child.  There is a doctor on duty 24 hours a day.

Each child will be cared for by a qualified children’s nurse experienced in Intensive Care each shift. In PICU there is one nurse per patient, and in HDU there is one nurse per two patients. 

There are two doctors ward rounds each day


Nursing handover takes place at


All members of the PICU team will support you and keep you informed of your child’s condition and ongoing care.
You will see lots of visiting teams such as Physiotherapists and staff in other uniforms that will help to provide care for your child. If you are unsure of who anyone is please ask a member of the nursing team.

They will have many wires and tubes attached to them.  The wires provide important information about your child to the medical and nursing staff caring for them, and the tubes allow staff to give your child the medicine they need to keep them asleep and pain free and help them get better.

The PICU environment can be very stressful and you may feel you are surrounded by machines, bright lights and unfamiliar sounds.  For these reasons, you may feel unable to cope or help your child.
There are many ways for you to continue to carry out your role as a parent to your child and we will encourage and support you to do so when you feel ready.

The amount of care you feel able to carry out and will depend on you. Many parents wish to help wash their child or change their nappy while others are happy to watch until some of the tubes and wires have been removed.
Your child will be minimally clothed whilst on PICU so that the nurse can closely observe them. You may wish to bring in socks for your baby or particular items your child finds of comfort at home.

Your child will probably be able to hear you even if they are being kept asleep with medicine.  They may therefore gain much comfort from the sound of your voice or the touch of your hand.  You may like to bring in a favourite toy or blanket, read to them or play their favourite music.  Remember you know your child best.

If you are breastfeeding your baby, you may wish to express your milk and equipment is available for you to do this.  The nurse will provide you with the information you need.  Your milk may then be given to your baby by one of the special tubes.

Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways you can help your child.

This is an extremely stressful time for you and it is important that you remain both physically and emotionally strong for your child.

There are many people within the hospital to help and support you. Staff on PICU can provide you with the relevant information should you require any of their support.

Brothers and Sisters

When your child is admitted to PICU, it is natural for their brothers and sisters to feel confused and upset too.  It is important to remember that their understanding of the situation may be different to yours and it is important to encourage them to ask questions and say how they feel.  Give them simple explanations about what is happening.

You may decide to let them visit PICU, and the nurse caring for your child will support you to do this.  Encourage them to bring something in with them for their brother or sister such as a drawing or card they have made, as this may help them to feel involved.

It is not unusual for your well children to feel upset when they are away from you or have changes in their daily routine.  Try to keep things as normal as possible for them.   It is important that they spend time with you, either by visiting hospital or by you spending time with them at home. 

You may also wish to explain what is happening to your child’s school teacher.

As a team on PICU, we promote a family centred approach to care – this means that we wish to help and support the whole family during your stay in hospital.

If siblings are unwell they should not visit the PICU. Please check with the nurse in charge before you bring children or small infants onto the unit.


We have an open visiting policy on PICU that allows you to be with your child as much as possible and you must never feel you are in the way.  Once again, we will ask you to leave the unit during doctors ward rounds, nursing handover and any emergency situation.  Again, this is to ensure that the information being discussed about your child remains confidential to those caring for them and to you. We will take your contact phone number and let you know if there are important changes with your child whilst you are not there.

When you arrive on PICU, please can you ring the door bell before entering the main unit and wait for someone to respond.  We kindly ask you to be patient as we may be busy.
Please either use the alcohol hand gel by the main door, or wash your hands on entering and leaving the unit.  This is an important way of preventing the spread of infection.

Visiting is open to all family members and friends, however, please keep to two visitors at the bedside at any one time.  Visitors arriving to PICU in your absence and not known to the nursing staff, will kindly be asked to wait in the waiting room until your return.

You can phone the unit at any time, however we can only give out information to parents and main carers as this information is confidential.
We suggest you ask one family member to contact the unit and relay the information back to the rest of the family.  This will be helpful in limiting the calls you receive on PICU, as the phone lines are emergency lines.

PICU TELEPHONE NUMBER: 029 20743282 – this is a direct line to the unit

Leaving PICU

The Consultant caring for your child will decide when they are well enough to leave PCCU. 
They will no longer require the intensive monitoring, medical and nursing care they have received during their stay.  It is also a time of change and adjustment, which can sometimes cause concerns for you as a parent. 

Your child will be transferred to one of the Children’s Wards or they may go straight back to their local hospital.They will continue to be cared for by a team of experienced staff.  During this time, you will find that some things are done differently to the way you have been used to on PICU. 

Your child will now need less frequent monitoring as their condition will have improved.  They no longer require one to one nursing care. This means that the nurse caring for your child will have other children to look after as well. 

This will allow you to become much more involved in your child’s daily care and recovery.

The PICU nurse caring for your child will explain what to expect before, during and after your child leaves PICU.  You may be given the opportunity to visit the new ward and be introduced to a member of the nursing team if you feel this would be helpful. 

There are waiting rooms near the PICU to use during your stay which has a TV. There are a number of places to eat in the hospital and staff will inform you of how to find them.


Parents and carers of children admitted to PICU are entitled to a special parking permit, the ALPHA pass, which lasts for 24 hours. This can be bought from the CARPARK office on the ground floor of the large multi-storey car park. The office is open 24 hours a day and staff there will then advise you as to where to park.

Heathfields Hospital Canteen

This is situated on the Upper Ground Floor of A Block, and is open 7 days a week from 7.30am


This is situated on the ground floor at the main entrance of the hospital and has a small retail area which includes a bank, post office, coffee area and a small selection of shops


Mon - Fri    10.00am – 4.00pm


Mon - Fri          9.00 am – 5.30 pm
Saturday           9.00am – 1.00pm


Mon – Fri           8.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday           9.00am – 6.00pm
Sunday              12.00 – 5.00pm


Mon – Fri           7.30am – 8.00pm
Saturday           9.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday              10.00am – 6.00pm


Mon – Fri          8.00am – 5.00pm

Your views

Your views are important to us.  Please let us know if you have any thoughts or suggestions on how we can improve the care we provide to you as a family. Once your child is ready for discharge please complete a short questionnaire about your experience and post it in the post box outside PIC or on the HDU.

If you are unhappy with anything, we will make every effort to deal with the problem.  However, should you wish to make a formal complaint, staff will explain the hospitals complaint procedure to you and give you the relevant written information you need to do so.

Important reminders

When you leave we will give you a list of questions about your stay so that we can try to help improve the stay for future families.

Information for parents leaflet.


Information for parents regarding the retrieval service.


Information for siblings.



This page edited December 9, 2016 11:28 AM by Allan Wardhaugh