Pediatric Intensive Care Level II

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Halifax Health Medical Center is the section of the hospital dedicated to the treatment of children who need the highest level of medical attention and care. Children are admitted to the PICU when their needs can’t be adequately met on the hospital’s main floors when they need closer monitoring of their condition (such as after surgery) or they are taking medications that must be carefully supervised. Halifax Health offers the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the area, providing services 24 hours a day.

Caring and Dedicated Staff of the PICU

The PICU of Halifax Health Medical Center utilizes a multi-disciplinary team focused on caring for young patients.

  • Pediatric Intensivists (Doctors who specialize in pediatric intensive care)
  • Critical care nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Rehabilitation therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Dietitians
  • Nurse Case Managers

Depending on the needs of the child, other specialists may be involved in his or her care. The PICU at Halifax Health has the best trained, qualified and most comprehensive staff in the area.

What to Expect in the PICU

Children are often admitted to the PICU because of the intensive care or testing they need. Halifax Health recognizes that the hospital environment can be very intimidating to young patients (and their parents). Such anxiety is normal, but knowing what to expect can do a great deal to ease the fears of the patients and parents. Every child’s experience will differ depending on their needs, but some of them may include:


    • An intravenous catheter (IV) is a small gauge needle attached to a very thin tube and may be given to a child to administer fluids or medication. Once inserted into a vein, the needle is removed leaving just the soft tubing. Arterial lines may be used to closely monitor blood pressure and oxygen levels in the blood.


    • One of the reasons children may be admitted to the PICU is to monitor them when taking medications that are particularly strong or may have side effects. The medication may be given orally, in a pill or via other methods, such as an IV.


    • A large part of the stress of the hospital environment is being attached to a lot of blinking, beeping machinery; but closely monitoring a child in the PICU is of the utmost importance.
      • Chest leads – Small sticky pads which connect to wires from the monitor and are used to measure heart and breathing rate
      • Pulse oximetry machine (pulse ox) – Attached to a finger, toe or for very small children, across a foot and used to measure oxygen levels in the blood. It is painless and non-invasive
      • Blood pressure cuff
      • EEG pad – Sticky pad is placed on the side of the patient’s head to measure brain activity


    • A child may need to undergo tests to determine more about their condition. All of these tests are painless and used solely to gather information and help with treatment.
      • X-rays
      • Ultrasounds
      • CAT scans
      • MRIs

What to Expect

The PICU at Halifax Health Medical Center is designed to offer the full gamut of care to its young patients, from physical, to emotional, to spiritual. Halifax Health employs top talent in specially trained nurses and specialty pediatricians, offering excellent counseling and support services for patients and families.

Speediatrics, the pediatrics unit at Halifax Health, was designed with the idea of caring for the whole child in mind. Brightly decorated with a racing theme, Speediatrics creates a cheerful and reassuring environment for children. The Daytona International Speedway is nearby the medical center, and NASCAR drivers often come to visit with young patients during Race Week and other events. There are displays of memorabilia from NASCAR cars and drivers, and the Speediatrics Wall of Fame has autographs from many famous visitors.