A recent quality-of-care assessment of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Nicklaus Children's conducted by the National Association of Children's Hospitals compares patient outcomes with results obtained from similar intensive care units around the country. Nicklaus Children's PICU was ranked excellent, the number one unit in the study, due principally to better than predicted results obtained in caring for the highest risk patients.
The Nicklaus Children's PICU is the most experienced pediatric and neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) resource for children with life-threatening heart and lung conditions in the State of Florida, and one of the largest in the nation. It is one of three pediatric apheresis blood treatment centers in the state (the only one operating 24 hours a day) for children who require plasma exchange (meningitis), red cell exchange (sickle cell crisis), prosorba column (autoimmune viruses), leukopheresis (leukemia) or stem-cell harvesting (bone marrow transplants).
Nicklaus Children's PICU patients spend more than 2000 patient days attached to ventilators each year another measure of the units acuity of care. Despite handling the most severely stricken children (with an average of nearly 300 patients transferred from other hospitals every year), Nicklaus Children's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit consistently outperforms the national averages, both in mortality rates (2% vs. 6%) and in length of patient stays (3.5 days vs. 4.7 days).
Successful outcomes such as these speak directly to the value of specialized child care. Nicklaus Children's PICU has reached a critical mass in acute care for children and it shows. The experience of staff physicians and clinical care nurses, their procedures and even their equipment reflect the particular needs of children.
Many neonatal and pediatric patients at other hospitals who face life-threatening medical conditions requiring critical care are transferred to Nicklaus Children's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit by a specialized mobile intensive care unit known as LifeFlight. This highly trained team of physicians, nurses, EMTs and paramedics utilizes self-contained life-support equipment to stabilize, treat and monitor a child upon contact at the referring facility and throughout transport via ground, helicopter or fixed-wing ambulance. Whether a patient is admitted to Nicklaus Children's PICU under the care of a personal physician, by a staff physician or through another intensive care unit, the child becomes the center of a multidisciplinary team effort. More than 60 nurses monitor patient progress minute-to-minute, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Respirators, EKG monitors, intravenous tubes and the technology of todays intensive care can bewilder a child and family. For this reason, to address virtually every patient and family concern, the medical staff of Nicklaus Children's PICU is supported by an extensive family-centered, human resources team that includes patient-family representatives, social workers, child life specialists and hospital chaplains.
We Have the Best Outcomes
According to VPS, an independent national ICU database, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital maintains one of the best outcomes in the country, with an average mortality of 1.77% from 2005 to 2011, as compared to 2.84 % among our peers. Our standardized mortality ratio (ratio of actual mortality to expected mortality) is 0.57 compared to 0.96 in our peer group.
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