The second half of the 20th century has produced an explosion of knowledge applied to the critically ill. The pathophysiology of life-threatening processes such as shock, respiratory failure, and increased intracranial pressure has been explored extensively. Advances in electronic patient monitoring, pharmacology, and improvement in transport systems are but a few of the factors that have drastically changed the nature of critical care.
Simultaneous with the scientific and technical advances has been the evolution of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Children have special medical needs, and it is appropriate, therefore, to provide their critical care in units of excellence dedicated exclusively to children, where care is provided by pediatric specialists. There is also increasing recognition of the degree of sophistication implicit in the term "intensive care," which has culminated in the acceptance by the American Board of Medical Specialists of the joint application by the American Boards of Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery for a Certificate of Special Competency in Critical Care Medicine. Thus, a new subspecialty has been born which reflects the developments in this field.
The purpose of this paper is to provide guidelines for pediatric intensive care units which will serve as a reference for those wishing to develop new units or to modify existing ones. The contributors to this set of guidelines have included pediatricians, anesthesiologists, intensivists, emergentologists, surgeons, engineers, nurses, and child life specialists who focus on the care of children in hospitals.
The following should be interpreted as guidelines only. Because of continuing ongoing developments in this field, periodic revisions of these guidelines will be necessary.
- Copyright © 1983 by the American Academy of Pediatrics