Clinical Programs

Pediatric ICU

doctor with residents photo

In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) we deliver care for children whose condition or illness requires critical treatments, constant observation and monitoring to meet their health care needs. Our goal is to provide compassionate and comprehensive care using the latest technology and evidence-based medicine. The PICU admits >1,600 critically ill children each year with all kinds of medical, surgical and traumatic conditions. The PICU is staffed 24 hours a day by board-certified pediatric intensivists who specialize in the care of critically ill children. Collectively, these physicians have >120 years of experience in pediatric critical care. Because of the serious medical condition of PICU patients, these physicians are present in the unit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, together with sub-specialty support as needed.

Critical Care Team

The Critical Care Team members include:

  • Pediatric Critical Care Physicians
  • Pediatric Critical Care Fellows (PL-4 or higher)
  • Pediatric Residents (PL-2 or PL-3)
  • Pediatric Critical Care Nurses
  • Pediatric Clinical Pharmacists
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Clinical Nutritionists
  • Occupational and Physical Therapists
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Medical Social Workers

doctors with patient photo

We also have 24-hour spiritual care, patient advocacy, translation services and many other services for our patients and families. Occasionally, senior medical students or other subspecialty fellows may be part of the PICU team.

The newly-constructed PICU is located on the 5th Floor and contains 20 private patient rooms. Each room is spacious enough to meet the clinical needs of critically ill children and also provides space in for parents and caregivers to spend comfortable, quality time during their child’s stay. Family-centered care is an integral part of our PICU, therefore each room can accommodate both parents or two caregivers at the bedside 24 hours a day. It is very comforting for children to know that their family is close by when they are recovering from surgery, trauma, or critical illness. Family members are invited to participate in daily rounds with the PICU team and contribute to their child’s care plan.

To provide more room for large groups of family and friends, there is a spacious family area located just outside the clinical area on the same floor. This room provides a place where families can talk, share a meal, or just relax with others in a large group setting.

The PICU serves as a regional and national referral center for children who require the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services. These include advanced respiratory care technologies (such as: High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation, Nitric Oxide and Heliox), Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation, Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (or peritoneal and hemodialysis), multi-modal Neuromonitoring, and others. Le Bonheur is the only hospital in the region recognized as an ECMO Center of Excellence by the International Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). Very few hospitals have achieved this advanced level of cardiopulmonary care.

Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU)


Still considered a part of critical care, the 6th Floor Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU) delivers care to two distinct patient populations. One group includes patients whose condition requires a longer hospital stay due their dependence on medical technology to support, respiratory, nutritional, or other needs. The other group includes “step-down patients” who still require the skills of critical care nurses or physicians, but do not require the intense level of support or monitoring provided by the PICU. The IMCU is staffed by Pediatric Critical Care physicians and nurse practitioners, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, together with surgeons, pulmonary and other specialists. The IMCU nurses are specially trained in the technologic needs and psychosocial needs of children requiring prolonged or step-down intensive care and their families. Other health care team members participating in the IMCU include respiratory therapists, occupational and physical therapists, speech pathologists, pharmacists, child life specialists, medical social workers, chaplain services, patient advocate representatives, and many others.

The IMCU contains a total of 21 private patient rooms. Families are encouraged to spend as much time as possible at the bedside of their child and, if possible, participate in the daily care of their child. It is also a teaching environment where we provide technical and safety training for the parents of our technology-dependent patients before discharge from the hospital. Each room in the IMCU provides ample space so that parents and caregivers can spend comfortable, quality time during their child’s stay. Each room can accommodate up to 2 parents or caregivers at the bedside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with furniture that converts easily from sitting, to resting or sleeping. The principles of developmental care are incorporated into the routine of all patients in the IMCU.

To provide more room for large groups of family and friends, there is a spacious family area located just outside the clinical area on the same floor. This room provides a place where families can talk, share a meal, or just relax with others in a larger group setting.

Due to the long length of stay many of our technology-dependent patients, parents are encouraged to bring their child’s brothers and sisters, regardless of age, to spend time with their sibling. A Child Life Specialist can help prepare brothers and sisters for visitation. This helps them feel as comfortable as possible before coming to the IMCU. Once a child’s condition is improved, they will move from the IMCU to another patient care area, or possibly back to their home environment. Over the past 20 years, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital as pioneered the transition of technology-dependent children from the hospital to home.

Contact Us

Department of Pediatrics

Critical Care Division

LeBonheur Children's Hospital
Children's Foundation
Research Center
50 N Dunlap, 3rd Floor
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 901-287-6303