Paediatric Critical Care

Level 8C

  • Telephone: 01273 696955 Extension 2503
  • Fax: 01273 523139
  • Ward Manager: Helene Smith

The Paediatric Critical Care Unit treats and cares for critically ill children and young people from Brighton, Hove and the wider Sussex area.

The unit has two beds and one cubicle and is a ‘step-up’ facility to support the high dependency beds based on the medical and surgical wards of the Alex. It works in conjunction with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit and the adult Intensive Care Unit. It also works closely with the South Thames Retrieval Service and the Paediatric Critical Care Unit at the Evelina Children’s Hospital, and Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital NHS Trust.

The unit provides intensive care to the standard of Level 3 as follows:
  • To support the paediatric elective and emergency surgical service provided within the Trust.
  • To children with single system failure for periods of up to five days.
  • To children with second system failure who require stabilising with ventilatory, circulatory and early neuro-intensive support with Level 2 Paediatric Critical Care Unit, usually prior to transfer to a regional Paediatric Critical Care Unit.

    The service also provides care to the standard of Levels 1 and 2 for an indefinite time period, including longer term, non-invasive ventilation.

    The Paediatric Critical Care Unit has a nurse led outreach service which can carry out Paediatric Critical Care Unit-level assessment and, if necessary, treatment to the child within the Alex. The team also provides a mobile children’s pain management service, with support from the hospital’s Pain Management Group.

    The unit develops the skills of both medical and nursing staff, as well as other members of the multi-professional team, through the Paediatric Critical Care Unit nurse educator.

    The Alex has an active research programme, having developed the nationally recognised Brighton Paediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS). Further research will have an initial focus on infectious disease genetics.

    Definitions of levels of care provided in the Paediatric Critical Care Unit
    • Level 1 High dependency – Patients requiring closer observation and monitoring than is usually available on an ordinary children’s ward. This can include single organ support and monitoring or ‘step-down’ facilities for patients who no longer need intensive care but require continued detailed observation.
    • Level 2 Critical care – Children needing continuous nursing support and who need ventilatory support, or support of two or more organ systems.
    • Level 3 and above – Children with two or more organ systems needing technological support, including advanced respiratory support. They require intensive nursing supervision at all times and will be undergoing complex monitoring and/or therapeutic procedures.