Your child’s admission to the Critical Care Unit (CCU) may have been planned and you may have already had an opportunity to visit the unit and been told what to expect. Some children will be admitted as an emergency, from within the hospital or from another hospital.
The Critical Care Unit consists of:
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- High Dependency Unit (HDU)
- Burns Unit
How to get to CCU
The CCU is on the first floor of our hospital. All units in CCU can be accessed from the main corridor. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is made up of three sections called ‘pods’. The High Dependency Unit (HDU) is made up of two sections also called ‘pods’. There is an intercom security system to use for when parents, carers and visitors wish to enter the unit. For security reasons, parents, carers, and visitors will be asked who they have come to visit before the door will be opened. Please do not hold the door open for other people as staff will need to identify all visitors for the safety of patients.
What happens when your child arrives at CCU?
You will be asked to wait in the parent lounge whilst we settle your child in and carry out certain procedures/tasks that need to take place immediately upon arrival. We appreciate that this is an anxious time for you but ask that you are patient whilst we assess and monitor your child. CCU is a very specialised area, and we use an array of equipment in the care and treatment of patients. The nurse caring for your child will explain what is happening and about the equipment attached to your child. At the earliest opportunity a member of the medical team will speak to you about your child’s treatment and condition. We try to ensure that you are kept fully aware of your child’s condition and management throughout their stay in CCU.
Visiting The Critical Care Unit
Visiting guidelines are designed to create a safe environment for all of the patients within the unit. We particularly want to minimise the risk of children having an infection that could have been prevented and ensure CCU staff are not hindered in caring for patients at all times.
If you have any questions about who can visit your child and at what time, please speak to the nurse in charge of CCU.
Who can visit?
On admission we will ask you to identify a maximum of six people, including yourself, who will be allowed to visit your child. Only two visitors can be at your child’s bedside at any one time.
Any visitors showing signs of fever, cough, cold and/or stomach virus will not be allowed to visit.
There may be some occasions when visiting is restricted to just parents/guardian in an effort to stop the spread of illness such as seasonal flu. You will be notified of this as it happens.
During a visit:
- Please respect the needs of others. The parents’ reception area is for parents and siblings only
- Mobile phone should be put on “silent” and phone calls should be taken away from the bed space
- Please do not use the interview rooms as waiting areas
- Please do not use the main corridor to make phone calls or as a waiting area. This is a clinical area that must be kept clear at all times. Medical teams use this corridor to take patients for scans and to theatre and to bring emergencies to CCU from the Helipad
When you can visit the unit
Parents/guardians can visit their child for as long as they wish at any time of the day. Only parents/guardians will be allowed to visit after 7.00pm.
You will be asked to leave the bed space twice a day (7.00am to 7.30am and 7.00pm to 7.30pm). This is protected handover time and allows staff to discuss sensitive patient information and helps to ensure the confidentiality and safety of patients.
Siblings visiting the unit
If siblings want to visit the unit, this should be discussed with the nurse in charge before they visit. This helps to protect both children from the risk of infection. If the visiting sibling is unwell or has had any contact with any infectious disease, please do not bring them into CCU.
Parents are responsible for their own visiting children at all times.
Infection prevention control
On CCU we take infection prevention very seriously. Please tell the bedside nurse if you or anyone in your family has been exposed to any contagious diseases (such as chicken pox) on admission or as soon as you become aware of this.
To reduce the risk of infection, the unit may be closed to all visitors when surgical procedures take place.
To help us reduce the risk of your child developing an infection we ask that you do the follow the guidelines below:
- Please remove outdoor clothing before entering your child’s bed space. Roll up long sleeves then wash and gel your hands before touching your child and when leaving the bed space
- If your child is in isolation, please follow the nurses’ advice about protective clothing and seek advice about sibling visiting
- Parents and guardians must remain in their child’s bed space/cubicle. Please do not visit any other patient bed space within CCU. This is for infection control reasons as well as maintaining confidentiality for your child and other patient in CCU
- Do not bring food, fresh flowers, or balloons into the CCU
- Any drinks brought into CCU must be in a cup with a lid
- Please do not bring any toys, blankets, or teddies as they pose an infection risk
- Helping us with infection prevention control
- Please challenge any of our team if they have not washed or gelled their hands before entering your child’s bed space
Meet The Team
Each morning and evening your child will be reviewed by the Critical Care Unit consultant, doctors and other members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) assigned to your child’s care. They will discuss and review your child’s progress as well as treatment options and the treatment plan for the day. Your child will be allocated a doctor or Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) to oversee their plan of care. There will be opportunities for you to discuss your child’s care throughout the day with the nursing and medical team.
Your child will be allocated a trained nurse or an Assistant Practitioner, depending on the level of care your child needs. The nurse will be involved in all physical and emotional aspects of care as well as acting as an advocate for your child. They will also work with members of the MDT to ensure high standards of care are maintained throughout your child’s stay on CCU.
Helping us to care for your child
Your child with require specialist nursing care but we also value your contribution in their care. If you wish you can be involved in various activities such as nappy changing, reading, and playing as appropriate to your child’s needs. If you are involved in caring tasks such as nappy changes you will be asked to wear a plastic apron and, if required, gloves.
Staff you are likely to meet
Often are the first people you meet. They are responsible for letting you into CCU and informing staff of your arrival. They carry out a range of administrative tasks and usually wear their own clothes.
CCU is supervised by Consultant Intensivists. There are doctors who have undergone further training in critical care. They support and supervise a group of specially trained registrars who are responsible for the day-to-day care of patients at the bedside.
Health care assistants (HCA)
Health Care Assistants support the nursing team in the clinical areas. They assist with patient care for example: stocking up of resources, administrative duties, fetching equipment.
Housekeepers work with Health Care Assistant’s to support the nursing team by arranging patient food, stocking up resources, ordering supplies and some cleaning duties.
Housekeepers wear black tops and trousers.
CCU has a team of Domestics who are responsible for cleaning CCU each day. CCU has domestic cover in the morning, afternoons, and evening. There is also a smaller team during other times.
Assistant Practitioners look after lower dependency children under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Consultant nurse and Advanced Practitioners (ANP)
Consultant Nurse and Advanced Practitioners are senior nurses who have had further intensive training. They are responsible for the management of patients and are involved in the training of nursing staff and junior doctors.
Critical care ward manager
The Critical Care Ward Manager is responsible for supporting all staff in CCU ensuring a high standard of care is maintained at all times.
This group of senior staff have a range of roles. They are responsible for the running of the shift across CCU, overseeing the care of a group of patients in a pod, and looking after the child as a bedside nurse. They can answer queries in the absence of the Ward Manager.
Staff nurses act as the bedside nurse, planning and delivering care to the patients. They may have undergone further training and take on extended roles within specialist teams.
Other teams involved in the delivery of care and treatment in CCU
- As well as the Critical Care team and Medical Team there are other specialist teams involved in the care of patients. They visit CCU on a daily basis.
- Physiotherapists are responsible for respiratory assessment, patient positioning and chest physiotherapy. They also provide out of hours support.
- Radiographers take x-rays of patients when needed on CCU.
- Pharmacists visit CCU on a daily basis to assist the medical and nursing team with medications and prescriptions.
- Dieticians assess patients to make sure they are receiving the appropriate feed and calories if they are unable to eat normally.
If you are a parent or guardian, you are welcome to call us at any time of day or night on Alder Hey’s main phone number, 0151 228 4811. You will need the phone number of the pod your child is in. Your child’s nurse will give you this information. If you are staying in Ronald McDonald House dial 8 and then the extension number of the pod your child is in.
We can and will only give information to a parent or guardian and ask that other family members receive information from parents/guardians rather than calling the Critical Care Unit.