Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Advanced Care Unit

Introduction to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Advanced Care Unit (ACU)

  • The PICU and ACU are inpatient units in the hospital where newborns, children and adolescents up to 18 years old are cared for who have serious health needs
  • Children who are admitted to the PICU/ACU are cared for by a large team of specially trained nurses, respiratory therapists, pediatric nurse practitioners, doctors, pharmacists as well as many other members of the multidisciplinary team. Other services may also be involved as consultants in the child’s care.

Vertical Tabs

Our team


Staff physicians

Staff members


  • Maryse Dagenais, M. Sc.(A), CNCCP(C), Nurse Manager
  • Sarah Shea, BSc(N), CNCCP(C), Assistant Nurse Manager
  • Frédéric Nazair, BSc(N), Assistant Nurse Manager
  • Isabelle Morency, BSc(N), DESS, CNCCP(C)
  • Jennifer Russell, BSc(N)
  • Stephanie Avery, MSc(N), CNCCP(C)
  • Vanessa Sam, BScN, CNCCP(C)

Nurse practitioner

  • Linda Massé, ,B.Sc, M.Sc(A), IPS
  • Estelle Simon, PNP, MSc(A)
  • Shannon Burns, PNP, MSc(A)

Nurse educator

  • Vanessa Sam, BScN, CNCCP(C)

Administrative support

  •  Sabrina Pope, Administrative Assistant
  • Omaima Hmidou, Administrative Assistant
  • Constantina Akrivos,  Administrative Assistant
Programs and services

The Montreal Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a multidisciplinary unit recognized for its excellent patient outcomes. We provide comprehensive care for over 850 patients per year with complex diagnosis, such as cardiac and respiratory diseases, trauma, burns, cancer, and patients who need post-operative care after complex airway, spine, cardiac and neurosurgery.

As leaders in the care of complex patients, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Montreal Children’s Hospital offers many specialized programs:

Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS)

The Montreal Children's Hospital is the only provincial referral centre for neonatal respiratory ECMO. While the majority of ECLS care is provided to newborns, we provide support for children of all ages with lung or cardiac failure. The Program is a member of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO), a world-wide consortium of healthcare centres that report their ECLS data to a central registry.

Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)

A team of nurses receive specialized ongoing education to administer Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy.

Advanced modes of ventilation

The PICU offers advanced modes of ventilation such as high frequency oscillatory ventilation and high frequency jet ventilation.

Trauma Program

Each year, more than 16,000 children and teens from throughout Quebec are treated at the MCH Emergency Department for trauma-related injuries. Upwards of 400 of these patients sustain injuries that are serious enough to require hospitalization. On an annual basis, the MCH receives approximately 150 trauma patients from regional centres throughout the province who are in need of tertiary trauma expertise.

Organ and Tissue Donation

At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, organs and tissues can be donated following a diagnosis of neurological death. In addition, tissues can be donated following a cardiac death.

Our service understands that the death of a child is a traumatic event for parents. Whether or not a family chooses to donate, our team offers bereavement support and resources to help cope with the death. We take time to explain the donation process, encourage questions, and provide time to ensure the choice that best reflects family values and beliefs. The Organ and Tissue Donation team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached at (514) 412-4400, x 36590.

Your role as a parent
  • You are the most important person on your child’s healthcare team. Please speak with your child’s nurse or doctor about any changes you notice in your child and what you can do to participate in their care.
  • Your child is comforted by your presence. While they may need to receive medication for pain relief and sedation, you can continue to talk to them, read to them, and touch them – they are still aware you are there.
  • You are welcome to participate in the daily morning rounds with the PICU team to hear about the plan for the day and ask questions about the care your child is receiving. Rounds usually occur between 09:00-11:00 every day.
  • It is important to take care of yourself. Do not forget to take time to rest, eat, and take little breaks out of your child’s room when you can.
  • You can contact the PICU for updates at any time by phone, at 514-412-4400, extension 22855
  • Similar to the PICU, you may contact the ACU for updates at any time by phone at 514-412-4400, extension 24841
  • If you would like to see a Psychologist, Social Worker, Spiritual Care Professional or Child Life Specialist, please ask your child’s doctor, nurse or the nurse in charge for a referral.
Visiting hours
  • Parents are not considered visitors. You are welcome to stay in the PICU/ACU 24h a day.
  • Two parents can stay overnight, but rooms are adapted for only one parent to sleep. To assure your child’s safety and the staff’s ability to respond quickly should an emergency arise, parents are not allowed to sleep in the bed with their child.
  • There are two parent sleep rooms in the Family Lounge. The nurse in charge allocates these rooms on a daily basis in the evening. Please speak to your nurse if you are interested in a sleep room.
  • The room must be vacated and emptied of your personal belongings by 08:00 so that housekeeping may clean the room.
  • To ensure patient confidentiality, we ask that hallways in the PICU remain clear at all times.
  • You decide who can visit your child. However, we ask that you please limit the total number of visitors to two at a time (including a parent). If children are visiting, they must be supervised by an adult at all times. Visiting hours are between 08:00 to 20:00.
  • For the safety of your child, please do not invite visitors who are sick or who have been in contact with anyone who is sick.
Getting ready for your stay in the PICU and ACU
  • Make sure to bring the following personal items for your child (if applicable): toothbrush/toothpaste, hairbrush or comb, socks, non-skid slippers, comfortable clothing, any favorite items (e.g., toy or blanket), and diapers (if your child uses them at home).
  • Bring your own changes of clothing, toiletries (including sandals for the shower) and any other personal items you may need during your stay. Out of respect for the staff and other families in the PICU/ACU, please wear appropriate clothing at all times, including pyjamas to sleep in if you are spending the night.
  • Please visit the following link for information about parking, WiFi and TV, food at the hospital and other resources: Click here!
Infection control
  • The best way to prevent the spread of infections that can occur in hospitals is for everyone to wash their hands with soap and water or clean their hands with the hand sanitizer that is available. It’s okay to remind staff to clean their hands before they provide care. All staff, patients, and visitors should clean their hands at the following times:
  1. Before touching a child or the child’s environment – i.e.: entering a child’s room
  2. Before doing a procedure or providing care – i.e.: eating or feeding, giving medications or injections
  3. After contact with any body fluid – i.e.: using the washroom, changing a diaper, coughing, sneezing
  4. After touching a child or child’s environment – i.e.: leaving a child’s room
Falls prevention
  • Chances of falling out of bed increase when children are sick, taking medicine, or are in an unfamiliar place and in an unknown bed. Securely latched side rails play a key role in keeping your child safe. Ask a staff member to show you how the rails and latch work. Keep side rails up at all times.
  • For children in the ACU, please refer to the poster about Falls prevention that is present in your child’s room for more information
Pressure sores
  • Pressure sores result from constant pressure on your child’s skin from different medical devices (like an IV) or from lengthy bed rest without changing positions.
  • Ask the team if your child is at risk of developing a pressure sore
  • What you can do to help lower the chances of your child getting a pressure sore:
  • Please tell us if your child has a history of pressure sores.
  • When washing or dressing your child look closely at their skin and tell us about any changes you see
  • If your child uses diapers, change them frequently to prevent moisture build up on the skin
  • Help us when we turn or reposition your child. Tell us about your child’s favorite sleeping positions.
  • Please encourage your child to move if they are able
  • View this PDF for more information

If you have any questions about pressure ulcers and what we are doing to prevent them, please ask us.

PICU family lounge
  • This is a shared space to be used by all of the families whose children are in the PICU, and are confirmed to be COVID negative. Please respect other families by cleaning up after yourself and not making too much noise.
  • Visitors can briefly use the Family Lounge; however, due to limited space, the lounge is reserved only for the child’s parents or guardians. If there are several visitors in the hospital, we ask that they please wait in the P.K. Subban Atrium located on S1, or in one of the other public spaces in the hospital.
  • Parents who wish to shower can do so. You must bring your own toiletries from home. Towels and face cloths are available on the unit. To maintain the cleanliness of the shower, please clean the shower after use using the disinfectant wipes that are provided.
  • There is a refrigerator and microwave available for your use. Please label your food with your child’s name and the date. When your child is transferred to another floor or discharged home, you must remove all of your food from the fridge.
  • If you have any concerns about the cleanliness of the family lounge, please let your nurse or the nurse in charge know.
ACU family lounge
  • The family lounge for the ACU is shared with other families on the 8th floor. Please respect other families by cleaning up after yourself and not making too much noise.
  • There is a refrigerator and microwave available for your use. Please label your food with your child’s name and the date. When your child is transferred to another floor or discharged home, you must remove all of your food from the fridge.
  • If you have any concerns about the cleanliness of the family lounge, please let your nurse know.
Other facilities for families
  • The cafeteria is located on the S1 level of block C and is open from 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00 on weekends and statutory holidays
  • There are restaurants and retail outlets offering access to food and other merchandise on the ground floor (RC) and S1, as well as in blocks C and E.
Planning for transfer to the wards
  • Your child’s condition has improved so that they can go to the medical or surgical ward. Leaving the PICU/ACU may evoke mixed feelings that are completely understandable. These feelings usually pass once you get familiar with the ward, its routine and the new team of people caring for your child.
  • The length of stay in the hospital will differ for each child. Ask your nurses and doctors on the ward when you might expect to be discharged home.

  • We want to hear from you, and how we can improve care. Please fill out the following survey about your experiences in the PICU/ACU – PICU Parent Survey

Patient rights and responsibilities
  • The McGill University Health Centre Patients’ Committee exists to help patients who get care at the MUHC to:
    • Give you information about hospital services and resources
    • Give you information about your rights as a patient
    • Help you fill out forms
    • Help you file complaints
  • For more information about the patients’ committee, and your rights and responsibilities as a patient, please visit the following link.
Comments and complaints
  • If you have a concern about the services provided to you or your child, or have a suggestion for how something can be improved, please talk to a member of your child’s care team. Most concerns can be resolved quickly by talking with staff in the area involved.
  • If you have difficulty explaining your concern or feel that not enough is being done about it, you can contact the hospital’s Complaints and Quality Commissioner (Ombudsman) who can help with these matters and offer advice and information on hospital practices and procedures. To reach the Ombudsperson, call ext. 22223 or email [email protected]
Refer a patient 

Room: B 06.3718, Glen site

Phone : 514-412-4400 ext. 22696
To reach the unit: 514-412-4400 ext. 22855 (PICU) 24/7
Fax : 514-412-4205

To reach the unit: 514-412-4400 (ACU) ext. 24841