Pediatric Intensive Care Unit discharge delay

Quality and Outcomes Reports - Critical Care

Why we measure it - Minimizing delays in sending kids home from the hospital helps ensure children receive the most appropriate care and resources. Avoiding discharge delays in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit means that beds are open to meet the needs of other critically ill children.


What this means - Discharge delay is the time in hours between when a patient is identified as medically ready to leave the PICU and the time they actually leave. The discharge delay at Children's Hospital is compared with other children's hospitals across the country. Compared with other PICUs, we have continued to reduce delays in discharge.

About the data - The VPS database collects information from children's hospitals around the country. The data show the discharge delay in hours from the PICU in comparison to those from the VPS group.

Related dimensions of care:


How we provide the best care

  • Children's Hospital has been involved in a national initiative to decrease PICU discharge delays. Efforts to reduce unnecessary stays in the PICU should be balanced with other measures to ensure that children are not sent home too early.
  • Specially trained pediatric critical care physicians and pediatric nurse practitioners are available on-site 24 hours a day to respond to patient and family needs.
  • We have a highly specialized Children's Transport Team available 24 hours a day to bring very ill and injured infants and children to our center. The team transports more than 1,500 children each year.
  • Parents, grandparents and legal guardians may visit 24 hours a day.

Level I regional referral center

The Al McGuire Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is a Level I regional referral center that provides the highest level of pediatric critical care. It is one of the few PICUs in the region offering extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a type of heart-lung bypass.

Family accommodations

Families traveling from long distances are encouraged to use our Family Accommodations Program to make travel arrangements and schedule appointments. Children's Hospital has partnered with non-profit organizations like Ronald McDonald House to offer comfortable, "home away from home" accommodations. Local hotel chains on our referral list also offer discounts for families.