What to Expect in the PICU

Stock photo of a health care provider interacting with a pediatric patient

At OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, we make every effort to keep your child and family comfortable. You’ll find:

  • A range of services to support your family’s comfort and well-being.
  • Child life specialists to ease anxiety for your child and other children in your family.
  • A private room with space for one or two parents/caregivers to spend the night.
  • A family-centered environment that involves you in your child’s care.

Visiting the PICU

Please see our COVID-19 Resources for Oregon page for our visitor policy during the pandemic.

  • Visiting hours: Parents and primary care providers are welcome in the PICU at any time. Other visitors are allowed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Up to four people at a time may be in your child’s room.
  • Siblings: Brothers and sisters are welcome except during cold and flu season, from about November to May.
  • Health screening: At the front desk, visitors are asked a few questions about their health before they may enter.
  • Hand-washing and masks: We’ll ask visitors to wear a mask and wash their hands often.

What you can bring

To protect patients, we have a few restrictions on what visitors can bring:

  • Stuffed animals are fine.
  • Mylar balloons are allowed, but not latex balloons.
  • Flowers and plants are not allowed.
  • Don’t wear jewelry or watches; this helps prevent infections.

Family-centered care

Parent participation: We want you to participate in your child’s care. This includes joining doctors and nurses as they map your child’s treatment for the day. We also want you to tell us how your child expresses pain so we can keep your child as comfortable as possible. We encourage you to help through touch, talking or music.

Private room: Your child’s room has a daybed, a chair (some are rocking chairs) and a bathroom. You also have access to a family lounge, two family showers and a lactation room for breastfeeding moms. Rooms include room for one or two parents/caregivers to spend the night. (Sorry, siblings cannot stay over.)

Child life therapy: Specialists in our Child Life Program can help your child and other children in your family cope during your child’s hospital stay. They offer support and activities, such as therapeutic play and medical play.

Guest house: OHSU’s Rood Family Pavilion offers out-of-town families a comfortable place to stay (space permitting) free of charge. The guest house provides private suites, plus access to shared spaces to cook, play and relax.

Social services: Doernbecher social workers can offer support and help you with needs such as housing, transportation and financial aid.

Learn more about Doernbecher services and amenities.


We use specialized equipment to care for your child. Your child’s equipment may include:

  • Monitors: Your child will be attached to computers with wires so we can monitor vital signs. You can be confident that your child is being monitored even when a doctor or nurse isn’t at the bedside.
  • IV line: This is a thin, flexible tube placed in a vein with a small needle. We use it to deliver fluids and medications.
  • Ventilator: Children in the PICU sometimes need help breathing. In some cases, we can use a less-invasive machine called a BiPAP to help move oxygen into the lungs through a mask. In other cases, a breathing tube and ventilator may be required to keep your child safe.

For families

Questions? Please call us at 503-494-8811.


Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
700 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239
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