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UnityPoint Pediatric Intensive Care Unit


UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Medical Center (IMMC) needed to upgrade and expand its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and create a Flex Unit that serves primarily as a Clinical Decision Unit supporting the Emergency Department and an over flow Critical Care Unit when needed. The hospital had already added an extra floor to its recent Emergency Department addition, and now wanted to build out the interior shell of that space for these two units.
Located on the second floor of the Emergency Department addition, the new PICU suite includes 12 state-of-the-art private rooms with private bathrooms and showers. Each room includes a family zone with pullout bedding, a reclining chair, a privacy curtain, two televisions, and individual sound systems so loved ones can stay close by.
There are also private family rooms for consultation between healthcare teams and family members. A centrally located nurses’ station offers great visibility of all 12 patient rooms. A family lounge with a kitchenette and comfortable seating offers family members a place to spend time outside of their child’s room, but still within the hospital.
Also located on the second floor of the Emergency Department addition is IMMC’s Flex Unit, which contains six adaptable patient rooms designed to flex up to a full airborne infection isolation suites. These rooms require a high level of complex design so that staff can safely isolate and treat patients who are infected with extremely communicable diseases. Because the need for this type of treatment is extremely rare, the suite was also designed to be used to treat other critically ill patients on a daily basis as overflow from the ICU and PICU.


Zones were created within the unit to protect the public and staff from any patients who may be treated in this area. The patient rooms can be negatively pressurized so that air from surrounding areas is dried out and exhausted to the building exterior through super filters.
A “safe zone” in the middle of the suite provides public space, room for supplies, and places to put on personal protective equipment. When medical staff exit the patient rooms, they can go directly into a decontamination area to remove personal protective equipment and take a shower. The six patient rooms are set up so that three patient rooms can be used simultaneously while the other three rooms become decontamination areas for three patients.


With its new PICU, IMMC offers a safe, up-to-date, comfortable treatment suite for children of all ages, along with accommodations that make family members feel welcome, too.
The flexible design of the CDU offers one of the only airborne infection isolation suites in Iowa, allowing IMMC to act quickly in emergency situations that may involve highly communicable diseases.
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