Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Published 9-30-2003

A new 24-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), part of Shands Children's Hospital at the University of Florida, a "hospital within a hospital," is now complete.

The new PICU was driven by the desire to improve the quality of space for patients, families, caregivers, and support personnel. The existing unit consisted of three six-bed pods, which allowed little space for families, staff, and support. Acoustical and visual privacy was virtually non-existent and, more significantly, the space did little to convey a feeling of warmth and compassionate caregiving.

The new unit has 24 single-bed, private rooms with much more family space at the bedside as well as in the caregivers' and support areas. Nurses are located outside the patient rooms. The unit has two central nurses' stations which are based upon the use of moveable furniture rather than fixed casework.

Visibility was a high priority for the staff to monitor the patients. This concern drove the design of a sub-nurses' station between pairs of patient rooms with glass to allow observation of both patients from a location where nurses can do their charting, order lab work, and perform other activities. Between each pair of patient rooms, there is also a set of glazed sliding doors. This allows the staff to observe and walk between the rooms without going into the corridor.

A multi-purpose room has been set aside that is apart from the patient rooms, where members of the health care team can privately discuss delicate issues with the family. A family room contains a small kitchen allows families to prepare meals; a TV and VCR for entertainment; and a separate room for sleeping.

Design of the PICU is the idea of "Florida's natural world." A color palette was chosen to remind children of being outside, and to reinforce the calm healing power of the Florida outdoors.

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