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Lurie Children’s Opens First Dedicated Intermediate Care Unit in Illinois

February 14, 2019

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago will be offering families a new, dedicated level of care – and the first of its kind in Illinois – when it opens an Intermediate Care Unit February 22, 2019.  This 20-bed unit will provide a level of care that falls in between the Lefkofsky Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and general inpatient floors. 

“The Intermediate Care Unit will be an intense respiratory and nursing unit for the sickest general inpatients and selected PICU patients,” said Irini Kolaitis, MD, Medical Director for the new unit.  “This unit is uniquely positioned to treat children who are medically complex or have respiratory diagnoses and need a higher level care than they can get on our other inpatient floors.”

The entire multi-disciplinary intermediate care team is committed to providing safe, efficient and evidence-based care in this new unit. “We hope to develop new protocols and streamline workflows with the addition of the Intermediate Care Unit,” says Dr. Kolaitis.  “This will position Lurie Children’s as a national leader in defining and studying pediatric intermediate care.”

Nursing Director of the Intermediate Care Unit Lora Byrne, DM, MBA, BSN, has been overseeing the training of the staff and developing workflows. “These self-selected nurses have trained extensively for this specialty environment in order to meet the needs of each individual patient and family. They are a bright, engaged group of professionals looking to be the drivers of best practice in this industry,” said Dr. Byrne. 

There is growing momentum to build more intermediate care units in pediatric hospitals throughout the country to help offset the high volume PICUs are experiencing, including at Lurie Children’s Lefkofsky Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Since Lurie Children’s moved from its Lincoln Park location to Streeterville in 2012, it has increased its critical care bed capacity from 132 to 200 to help accommodate more children. This new level of care will allow Lurie Children’s to increase its flexibility in patient triage and ensure the right care for every child. “There are more than 300 pediatric intensive care units in the country and only a handful of children’s hospitals have an intermediate care unit,’ said Dr. Kolaitis. “This is another milestone met in our commitment to achieve a healthier future for every child.”