A child's illness or injury can be overwhelming and stressful for families - especially when it involves critical care. Yet, the treatment plan and road to recovery needn't be. The University of Maryland Children's Hospital offers outstanding critical care for the youngest patients within a warm, caring environment.

Nan A. Garber, M.D., is assistant professor of Pediatrics at University of Maryland School of Medicine and one of the seven attending pediatric intensivists specializing in round-the-clock the care of critically ill patients. Dr. Garber says the underlying mission of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is to provide expert critical care to Maryland's children. "Our goal is to be the place families in our state can come to and trust every step of the way."

Providing Multi-disciplinary Care

"Other than starting each day with patient care rounds, there is no typical day in the PICU," says Dr. Garber. "Just as each pediatric patient is unique, so is the multi-disciplinary care and treatment plan arrived at for each patient. We see everything from cardiac failure, respiratory failure, severe infections and neurological emergencies to managing patients after surgery."

Care is delivered by an expert team of attending physicians, highly-trained nurses, respiratory specialists, physical and occupational therapy managers, nutritionists, case managers, social workers, pediatric nurse practitioners, pastoral care professionals and support staff. Specific medical subspecialists are called in as needed to compliment the team. In addition, child life specialists are involved in all aspects of each patient's care plan, including helping with the adjustment needs of siblings.

State-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments within the PICU focus on:

  • The age and size of the patient.
  • Individualized care plans based on patient requirements.
  • Special emphasis on pediatric pain management.
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation throughout the day.
  • Including the family as an integral part of their child's care team.

"We value parents at the bedside and in provider/parent team meetings," says Dr. Garber. "We listen to families' concerns and answer questions as they arise. Parents are allowed to remain with their child around the clock, seven days a week, which often helps to calm anxieties and provide reassurance to little ones." Translation services are also available to aid in communication needs.

Welcome to the Pediatric Unit

The 24-bed facility in the PICU is designed to be warm and inviting. It features:

  • A secured unit that keeps children safe.
  • Special art decor by pediatric patients that lines the rotunda and hallways.
  • A kid-friendly environment with fun activities for children, including reading, movies and video games.
  • Pet therapy for patients who are well enough.

Dr. Garber is also medical director of Maryland ExpressCare for Kids. "This pediatric specialty transport team is available 24/7 to transport critically ill children by air or ground ambulance from area community hospitals to a higher level of care, such as our PICU," says Dr. Garber. "It provides a valuable service to allow us to more effectively treat Maryland's children."

This page was last updated: March 8, 2013

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