Barbara Bush Children's Hospital

Pediatric Intensive Care

The pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at MaineHealth Barbara Bush Children's Hospital (MHBBCH) provides the most advanced pediatric critical care in Northern New England. Our cutting-edge care includes a positive pressure room and two negative pressure rooms. Eight single-bed private rooms, allow family members to stay with their child and provide constant support.

Advanced intensive care for your child

Our PICU provides intensive care for more than 450 critically-ill children each year. MHBBCH doctors and nurses specially trained in pediatric critical care medicine are on-site 24/7. The nurse-to-patient ratio is higher than the general pediatric unit to ensure constant monitoring and care for each young patient. 

Conditions commonly treated

  • Acute critical illness
  • Serious injuries from accidents
  • Burns
  • Severe neurological illness or injury
  • Organ failure
  • Complex surgery recovery

This expert care includes advanced therapies in invasive and non-invasive respiratory support, circulatory support, sophisticated monitoring techniques and administering certain medications that require close medical supervision. When patients are ready to transition out of intensive care, the onsite MHBBCH inpatient unit provides seamless continuity of care for patients and families.

Learn more about our services

MaineHealth Emergency Medical Services provides expedited, 24/7, critical care transport services from across our health care system. Within minutes of a call from a referring physician at another hospital, our pediatric critical care transport team can be dispatched to provide ground transport of critically ill infants within a 2-hour radius of Portland. The team uses specially-equipped ambulances donated by the Children’s Miracle Network. When necessary, a LifeFlight air ambulance also can be activated.

MHBBCH stays on the cutting edge of pediatric cardiology technology and treatments. Our latest advancements include extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment for children. ECMO treatment involves a mechanical pump and oxygenator that can be used to replace the function of the heart and/or lungs when a child's organs are too sick to do the job. ECMO can help support the body and allow the heart and/or lungs time to rest. 

Learn more about EMCO.

  • Monitors on our regular pediatric inpatient unit may differ from the PICU. Your child may not require continuous monitoring and may only require vital signs a few times a day.
  • Since your child’s health is improving, your child’s hospital doctor will change when transitioning from the PICU to the pediatric inpatient unit. The pediatric intensivist will communicate with the pediatric unit doctor about your child’s medical stay.
  • Nurses on the pediatric unit care for three to four patients at a time. Even though they are not at your child’s bedside, know your child is still being monitored and treated with the same level of care. Since the children in the pediatric unit are not as critically ill, there are more visitors, and more activities. There may be more noise than you experienced in the PICU.
  • There is a kitchen available to families with items, such as juice, coffee and crackers. 
  • The pediatric unit has an activity room, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and an atrium for use of patients and guests.