Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is committed to providing evidence-based critical care to children from birth through their 21st birthday in a family-centered environment.  We encourage parent and extended family involvement in the care of your children. You are regularly a part of the creation of the plan of care through our daily bedside rounds.

A multidisciplinary team consisting of physicians, subspecialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, acute care coordinators, pharmacists, social workers, child life therapists and discharge planners working together to ensure that a comprehensive plan of care is developed that meets the unique needs of each child and family.

The staff of the PICU is set apart by their regular participation in quality improvement projects in national collaborative projects. This includes a study on the reduction in blood stream infections associated with catheters which has seen a significant reduction in infection rates. Other ongoing projects focus on reducing ventilator associated infections, improving the provision of nutrition, and examining issues associated with end-of-life. We have participated with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals (NACHRI) PICU Focus Group for over eight years and have participated in national presentations of results.


Specialized Intensive Staff

Each child who is admitted to the PICU is seen by a physician who has specialty training in pediatrics and who subsequently received additional subspecialty training in pediatric critical care medicine. This type of doctor is known as an intensivist. The intensivist may be the primary manager of your child’s care or may work in concert with other physician specialists, e.g. a neurosurgeon. In either case, the intensivist’s role is to coordinate the care of the many physicians and other specialists who may be involved in your child’s care. The intensivist is available in the HackensackUMC PICU 24/7.

Our intensivists work with a highly trained group of nurses who have chosen to make intensive care their specialty. These are nurses who after graduation have undergone additional training in providing the many specialized services offered in a PICU. Admission to the PICU allows for more intensive nursing care and monitoring at the bedside. This allows your nurse to frequently re-evaluate your child’s condition and if there are any changes bring them to the attention of the treating physicians.

We are fortunate to have professionals from many disciplines such as respiratory therapy, child life, pharmacy, nutrition, social services and others working closely together as part of an integrated team designed to bring your child back to health as quickly as possible. An acute care coordinator acts to ensure that your concerns and needs are being met and that you are as fully informed of your child’s progress and prognosis.


Our Facility

The PICU is a 15-bed unit with all private rooms and can accommodate a parent at the bedside 24/7. Each room is equipped with a large screen TV that has entertainment features for your children as well as Internet access that enables you and your child to remain in contact with their friends and family.  In addition, these features are also available for parents to research topics of interest. Bathroom and shower facilities are located conveniently just outside the PICU.


Visiting Guidelines

In keeping with a family centered philosophy of care, the PICU has an open visiting policy. We have the ability to accommodate one parent sleeping at the bedside and space for a second caregiver to sleep outside the PICU.

Children over the age of 12 years old may visit at any time. We ask that children with fevers or coughs not to visit so as not to potentially spread contagious diseases either to their brother or sister or to other patients in the PICU. Children under 12 may visit with permission of the Nurse Manager and Intensivist on duty.

Live plants and flowers may not be kept at the bedside. If food is brought as gifts, we ask that you keep it sealed so as not to attract insects. Non-latex balloons are acceptable.


Leaving the PICU

As your child’s medical condition improves and intensive care is no longer required, your child may be transferred to the general pediatric floor or oncology unit for further care by your pediatrician or subspecialist physician. This is a reflection of your child’s improved medical condition and is a positive step. Your child will be able to go to the playroom as his/her condition permits. Each room on our general floors is private and has a full bathroom where your child may shower or bathe as permitted by your physician.



Section Chief
Bruce Friedman, MD

Steve Percy, MD
Mark Siegel, MD
Shira Gertz, MD
Carla Cangemi, MD
Martha Kutko, MD

Nurse Manager
Kimberly Ludwig, RN

Helpful Links

American Academy of Pediatrics    

Society of Critical Care Medicine

Pediatric Subchapter of the SCCM   

National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions    

Institute for Family Centered Care

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