First-class care after the cardiac intensive care unit

Even after children no longer need care in the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital, they continue to be followed by the multidisciplinary team at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.

After leaving the CICU, patients can step down to the progressive cardiac care unit (PCCU). The PCCU is for children with a cardiac diagnosis who have reached a stage in their recovery where they don’t need intensive care. They are still cared for by cardiac-trained physicians and nurse practitioners, and are monitored closely with telemetry. Nurses in the PCCU are also specially trained to care for cardiac patients.

The PCCU recently expanded from eight beds to 12 beds.

When a child is ready to go home, families are taught how to provide care. This includes CPR training, feeding, medication administration and any specialized equipment needs. A transition team with Norton Children’s Heart Institute ensures families are prepared for discharge and understand outpatient follow-up plans.

The heart institute also sends teams of physicians; echocardiogram and electrocardiogram technicians; and other support staff to 15 outpatient centers, in Ashland, Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, London, Madisonville, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Shepherdsville in Kentucky; as well as Corydon, Jasper, Madison and Scottsburg in Indiana.

Delwyn E. McOmber, M.D., is a pediatric cardiologist with Pediatric HeartCare Partners.

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