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Paediatric Intensive Care & High Dependency Unit

Role in the NQ region

The PICU at The Townsville Hospital specialises in the care of critically ill and injured children, and acts as a tertiary referral and advisory resource for all hospitals, health services and communities of the north Queensland region. At a local level it is vital to the THHS service capability in respect of paediatrics, paediatric emergency and trauma care, elective and emergency paediatric surgery, neurosurgery, ENT and maxillofacial surgery.  PICU also assists Retrieval Services Queensland and Lifeflight and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Medical Services in the transport of critically ill children across the NQ region.

Clinical standards

The PICU at TTH is accredited to level 6 of the Clinical Services Capability Framework (CSCF), the Department of Health. It has been accredited for Foundation and Elective (medical specialist) training by the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand. All patient outcome data are shared with the ANZPICR Australian and New Zealand database for paediatric intensive care units, and undergo rigorous audit and quality assurance processes. The Unit has strong professional links with the Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane. All of the specialist medical staff are Fellows of the College of Intensive Care Medicine. There are four Clinical Nurses, and one Clinical Nurse Consultant, whose roles are confined to PICU. All other nurses rotate between adult ICU and PICU. Regular staff education and training is conducted with a team focus.

Scope of practice

The unit supports major elective paediatric surgery, neurosurgery, ENT and maxillofacial surgery, and orthopaedics. It also assists with emergency surgery, trauma, and all forms of severe medical illness. Renal replacement therapy, high frequency oscillatory ventilation, and non-invasive ventilation are routine therapies provided at TTH

As a regional centre we acknowledge that some very specialised categories of patient, for example children requiring cardiac surgery, can be better managed by centralised services with resources dedicated to those conditions.  Children in these categories are stabilised in Townsville and safely transported to the most appropriate major centre, in Brisbane or interstate.  Telephone and teleheath consultations with subspecialist paediatricians (Australia-wide) may support patients to remain in Townsville.  TTH PICU does not provide ECMO / ECLS

Unit location

PICU and PHDU are co-located in pod 3 of the ICU complex, level 2 of North Block, adjacent to the Adult ICU. There are 5 beds available in total, with contingency for additional capacity for brief periods in times of crisis.

Unit activity

Demand for PICU/PHDU services has increased rapidly, and will exceed 300 admissions at >800 occupied bed days in 2016. One third of the patients are less than 12 months of age. Our admission age range is from neonates who have been discharged from health services (home), up to adolescents who prior to their 16th birthday.

High dependency

PHDU is a new initiative of the THHS, designed to cater for children who have complex medical or nursing care needs which would be beyond the scope of care available on a normal ward, but do not warrant PICU admission. Guidelines for PHDU admission have been produced.

Location2nd Floor North Block - The Townsville Hospital
100 Angus Smith Drive
Douglas  QLD  4814
Postal addressPO Box 670 Townsville QLD 4810
TelephonePatient referrals +61 7 4433 7428
Patient advice +61 7 4433 7428
Duty Consultant +61 7 4433 1111 (Main hospital phone)
MapSecond floor ICU
Last updated: 19 December 2016