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The paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Addenbrooke's is a thirteen bed ward caring for sick children who need very close observation from doctors, nurses and other members of the PICU team. Many of our patients are admitted as emergencies, or transfers from other wards at Addenbrooke's or other hospitals. Some of our patients have a planned stay with us after an operation

Visiting times

PICU has open visiting times.

Parents/carers are requested to leave their child’s bedside during doctors ward rounds each morning (0930 – 1130 hours). We encourage only parents/carers during rest period 13:00 to 14:30 hours. Other visitors will be asked to leave at this time.

There is more information about visiting elsewhere on this page

No flowers allowed


01223 217715
About the ward: 

What to expect

As your child is very sick they need to be observed closely, so they will have their own specially trained nurse. 

When you see your child they may be on special medicines to keep them temporarily still (paralysed) and asleep (sedated).

Your child will be surrounded by complex machinery. Their care may involve the use of this machinery and it may seem frightening. However each machine has a specific purpose and allows us to observe your child constantly without disturbing them. Don’t be concerned if you do not understand all the machines, your nurse will explain them to you when you feel ready.

You play a very important part in your child’s care and can be involved as much as you wish. The sound of your voice will be reassuring to your child. Playing their favourite music or tapes will also be comforting and do not forget their special toy! It is important that your child has some quiet time too.

Facilities for parents

We have a parent’s room with a public phone, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and a microwave. You may wish to bring supplies with you. There are shops and restaurants in the main concourse including a grocery store, newsagents and a bank with a cash point.

Visiting and staying overnight

You are welcome to visit your own child at any time, but please understand you may have to wait when your child is first admitted. You will also be asked to leave the unit during ward rounds to maintain confidentiality.

You can stay overnight but not at your child’s bedside or in the parents room. We have accommodation nearby on the hospital site and there is family accommodation available in the Sick Children’s Trust Acorn House. This accommodation is free, enabling you to be near your child. Please ask your child’s nurse for more information about accommodation but please do not feel that you must stay as it is important that you allow yourself time to sleep whilst your child is in PICU.

It is important to remember your other children. We encourage brothers and sisters to visit and they should be told what is happening. We will help with this if you wish. The unit is not suitable for active children for long visits but there is a playroom and a play specialist is available.

Others can visit with parental/carer’s permission but it is requested that only two visitors at a time are at the bedside. Please inform your nurse if someone is to visit while you are not here. A door entry system is provided as security; please be patient if it is not answered immediately.

Looking after yourself

You will be encouraged to take regular breaks and meals as it is important that you remain fit and well during your child’s stay. You will need light comfortable clothes (there is a washing machine available and an iron should you require one). Don’t forget to bring something to do, for example a book etc.

We understand that many of you are a long way from home and as soon as possible most children will be transferred back to their referring hospital for ongoing care.


We are all working together to care for your child so please ask your nurse or the doctor about any questions or worries you may have; we will always be willing to talk to you. You may find that you do not remember what you wanted to ask so write down any questions as you think of them.

Any financial worries can be discussed with a social worker and there is a Family Liaison Team available to offer you emotional support. There are chaplains of all denominations available and a chapel for your use in the main concourse which is open 24 hours a day.

Finding us: 

The PICU is on Level 3, that is the first floor above the ground floor (level 2).

From the main hospital entrance: Turn right as you enter through the revolving door, turn left and walk past the hairdresser, across the corridor to the C and D ward lifts. Use the stairs or lift to go up to level three. As you exit the stairs or lifts, turn left, then left again and C3 is in front of you. Please ring the doorbell to the left of the main door and state who you are visiting to gain access to the ward.

If your child is likely to be hospitalised for two weeks or more, you can get a discounted parking ticket from the main reception. This allows you to exit from the car parks for 14 consecutive days from the day you validate the ticket.

Parking discounts