Your Visit | Overview
The Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at Boston Children’s Hospital provides care to critically ill children with conditions that require close and constant monitoring. Our nurses, respiratory therapists, pediatric residents and fellows can call on the full range of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists from throughout the hospital as needed, while our attending physicians coordinate these specialists and direct the team taking care of your child.
We understand that a stay in the ICU can be frightening and stressful for both you and your child and recognize that many of the conditions, procedures and equipment used in the MICU may be unfamiliar, which can add to the stress of your child’s illness. Our MICU staff at Boston Children's will do whatever they can to help reduce this stress and uncertainty by ensuring that you are kept up-to-date about your child’s condition and receive the information you need to make informed choices about his or her care.
The following FAQ sections are designed to help you better understand what takes place in the MICU. We are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for your child, and our staff will be happy to answer whatever questions you may have at any time of the day or night.
FAQs about Treatments
About 60 percent of children in the MICU have respiratory illnesses that might require mechanical ventilation. Although our specialists are strong advocates of noninvasive ventilation, they are trained to provide all forms of ventilation when it becomes necessary.
What is noninvasive ventilation?
Noninvasive ventilation is delivered via a mask that fits on your child’s face and delivers pressure that helps your child to breathe.
Common noninvasive ventilation techniques include:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) helps to keep the airways open and is commonly used as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) uses different levels of air pressure to help your child inhale and exhale.
What is mechanical ventilation?
Mechanical ventilation is used to treat respiratory failure (severe breathing problems). Mechanical ventilators are devices that simulate the body’s normal breathing patterns by delivering a high-pressured flow of oxygen to into the lungs. Mechanical ventilation can be delivered either by an endotracheal tube, which is a tube inserted through the mouth or nose into the trachea (windpipe), or a tracheostomy which is a tube that is surgically inserted into the child’s trachea (windpipe).
FAQs about Visitation
If you are a parent or guardian, you can visit your child at any time after checking in with the front desk. Other family members and friends can visit during our regular visiting hours (noon to 8 p.m.). We may limit the number of visitors by your child's bedside.
All visitors must stop at the information desk in the Main Lobby at Boston Children's and identify themselves and the patient they are visiting. All children visiting a patient must be supervised by an adult at all times. Children who are 12 years old or younger will get a sticker that allows them to come up to the unit to visit the patient.
It is Boston Children's Hospital ICU policy that all parents, family members, and friends (first time or returning) check-in at the front desk every time before entering or re-entering the unit. This is done to ensure that the patient, nurse and unit are prepared for a visitor.
Up to two visitors are allowed at any time. We may further need to limit the number of visitors by your child's bedside if clinically appropriate.
Please tell your child's nurse of any visitor restrictions.
How do I get a visitor ID to visit my child?
Parents/Guardians/Grandparents - You will receive a yellow photo identification (ID) badge, which distinguishes parents and guardians from other hospital visitors. Only parents/guardians/grandparents are allowed to be in the hospital after 8 p.m.
Parent ID badges are given out at the front desk in the Main Lobby between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. After 4 p.m., parents will be issued a temporary paper ID until the next day.
Information on our Parents ID system is available at the information desk in the Boston Children's Main Lobby.
Other Adults - Friends and family members who are suffering from, or have been exposed to, any contagious diseases, such as a cold or chicken pox, should not visit the hospital. If friends and family members are healthy, they must check-in at the information desk in the Main Lobby at Boston Children's and identify themselves and the patient they are visiting.
Can I stay overnight with my child?
Yes, you can stay overnight with your child. Only one parent can stay overnight, however.
Chairs in most patient rooms fold out into cots. There are bathrooms in each patient room for parents to use, and lockers and safes where you can secure valuables.
Contacting a nurse/emergencies
The call light is attached to the hospital bed on the TV control box. If you or your child needs a nurse, press the button labeled "nurse." The unit secretary will answer your call through an intercom system.
If you have an emergency, press the red staff emergency/staff assist button on the wall. The button is only to be used in an emergency!
How can I contact my child's nurse when I am not at Boston Children's?
When you are not at Boston Children's, please call 617-355-8700 (ICP) or 617-355-8117 (MICU) to speak with your child's nurse.
Each bed space has a telephone number. To use the phone, dial 0 + 1 + Area Code + telephone number. You may need to charge calls if outside the local area. You can charge outgoing calls to your home phone or a phone credit card, or make a collect call. The phone company charges extra for all outgoing calls, including local calls. There is no charge for incoming calls.
Pay phones are near the elevators and a TTY Teletype is also available. Please ask your nurse to request one for you.
There are televisions and DVD players by the bedside. If you need a caption decoder, please contact your nurse. There is no TV charge.
The toilet in you
r child's room is for patient use, however family members can use it if the patient is not using it. We also have additional restrooms with bathing facilities located by the front desk/waiting room area.
Store personal items in the bedside cabinet or closet in your child's room. Never leave valuables, money or jewelry unattended - even for a short time. Boston Children's is not responsible for your valuables.
The kitchen on 11 South is stocked with limited drinks and snacks for patients only. You may store labeled food in the refrigerator here.
Boston Children's Engineering does not allow the use of any electric appliance brought from home. This includes televisions, radios and hairdryers.
Patients of all ages are welcome in the activity room, which is open Monday through Friday during the stay. If your child is unable to leave his/her room, the child life specialist can also find activities for him/her to do in his/her room. If you would like to view a video, for example, please contact the child life specialist or the secretary at the front desk.
FAQs about Amenities
How do we get mail and email at Boston Children's?
Mail can be sent to your child. The address is: (Child's name), Unit name, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Patients can also receive e-mail at Patient.Mail@childrens.harvard.edu. (Have the sender put your child's name in the subject line of the email.)
Laundry machines are located on the first floor, Farley Building. Coin operated washing machines, dryers and soap vending machines are available for parents to use.