About our Critical Care
Within our Critical Care there are three different units:
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- High Dependency Unit (HDU)
- Burns Unit
Critical Care has 48 beds in total with a large team involved in caring for your child.
Your child’s admission to the Critical Care Ward may have been planned and you may have already had an opportunity to visit the ward and been told what to expect. Some children will be admitted as an emergency from within the hospital or from another hospital.
When your child arrives here, you will be asked to wait in the parent’s lounge whilst we settle your child in and carry out certain procedures/tasks that may need to take place immediately. We appreciate that this is an anxious time for you but ask that you are patient whilst we assess and monitor your child.
The nurse caring for your child will explain what is happening and about the equipment attached to your child. At the earliest opportunity, a colleague 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 here.
Critical Care facilities
Unlike other wards at Alder Hey, there are no pull-out beds next to the patient beds for parents/carers to stay overnight in Critical Care. This is because colleagues need to be able to deliver care to your child safely at all times of day and night.
When your child is admitted to the Critical Care Ward, colleagues will contact Ronald McDonald House and request a room. Ronald McDonald is a separate charitable organisation located near the hospital. Allocation of rooms given is decided by staff at Ronald McDonald House.
If a room is not available, or you do not meet their accommodation criteria, you can still use their facilities daily. Facilities include the use of showers, kitchens, and laundry. Please ask your child’s nurse about day passes to Ronald McDonald House.
If you have arrived unexpectedly overnight, Critical Care has some basic emergency patient packs for families. For your own wellbeing, it is really important that you try to get some sleep and you are rested for when your child is awake and needs your attention.
Critical Care mealtimes
If your child is in Critical Care, they may be on a ventilator or a machine that delivers oxygen and supports their breathing. For this reason, we do not have a dedicated ward chef like other wards.
For parents/carers and families that need food or drinks, there is a restaurant and shops in the hospital atrium. There are also supermarkets and takeaways just a short walk from the hospital building. Please do not bring any food to Critical Care.
Critical Care visiting times
Our visiting guidelines are designed to create a safe environment for all children and young people in Critical Care. We want to minimise the risk of children having an infection that could have been prevented and ensure colleagues are not hindered in caring for children and young people.
Any visitors showing signs of fever, cough, cold and/or stomach virus will not be allowed to visit.
On admission to Critical Care, 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.
Regular visiting hours for non-parents/carers are 1pm to 7pm. Parents/carers can visit their child for as long as they wish at any time of the day. Only parents/carers will be allowed to visit after 7pm.
There may be some occasions when visiting is restricted to just parents/carers 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 phones 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 always kept clear
In Critical Care, 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.
To reduce the risk of infection, the ward may be closed to all visitors when surgical procedures take place.
We ask that parents/carers follow the below guidance to help prevent infection:
- Please remove outdoor clothing (coats, jackets etc.) 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/carers must remain in their child’s bed space/cubicle. Please do not visit any other patient bed space on the ward
- Do not bring food, fresh flowers, or balloons onto the ward
- Any drinks brought into Critical Care must be in a cup with a lid
- Please do not bring any toys, blankets, or teddies as they pose an infection risk