Communication between families and staff

You can find out about what is happening for your child in different ways on PICU.

Ward rounds

Every day, the PICU team looking after your child will meet beside your child's bed. This is called a ward round. All the aspects of your child's care are shared and discussed by the team.

A PICU ward round usually occurs once (and sometimes twice) a day. It involves quite a crowd of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health staff.

You may be invited to be present at the ward round. It may be a good opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes the ward round discussion includes medical words. If you do not understand what is being discussed then please ask.

Ward rounds are often used as a teaching opportunity for the junior doctors and nurses. This means that the discussion is not always relevant to your child. If you hear something that concerns you, please ask.

There are also other teams in the hospital that do ward rounds and visit PICU. For example, if your child needed surgery then the surgical team will visit your child on PICU each day. This can mean that some days are very busy. It is important that your child has rest periods, so please let us know if you are worried.

Asking for an update about your child

You do not have to wait for a ward round for an update about your child. If you would like an update or have further questions, you can ask your nurse or ask to speak to your doctor at any time. Please don’t hesitate to voice any concerns you may have. We will listen and respond.

Writing things down

The PICU can be a stressful environment. The stress and emotions you are feeling about your child may mean that you are unable to remember everything that you are told. This is very normal. The staff are happy to go through what is happening as many times as you need. Some parents find it helpful to write things down. This can help you remember what you wanted to ask when you meet with your child's nurses and doctors.

Family meetings

A large meeting with all your child's health professionals will be held weekly if they are on PICU for several weeks or more. After the large meeting, the doctors and nurses will arrange a family meeting with you. They will give you an update on your child’s progress. This meeting is another opportunity to ask questions. If something changes, or your child’s illness is unstable, then family meetings may happen more often.

Related topics

This topic was reviewed by a paediatric intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

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