PICU vs. NICU — What’s the difference?

We can all agree that the acronyms in healthcare are a little daunting. MDs and DOs, not to mention RNs and LPNs. It seems like you have to be a CEO or VIP to know the difference between an ICU and CCU.

FYI, we can help. Let’s start with a frequently asked question— what’s the difference between a PICU and a NICU? Both can prove vital for your child’s health, but here is how they differ:

What is a PICU?

A PICU is a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Often when the need for top quality pediatric care escalates to the highest level, children are taken to a PICU.

What is a NICU?

A NICU is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit — an even more specialized facility that cares for brand-new patients such as premature infants and sick “term” newborns. When children are first entering the world and need a little extra care, they typically go to the NICU.

So what’s the difference between a PICU and NICU again?

One of the biggest distinctions between a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is that a PICU cares for infants and children up to age 17 (pediatric = children). A NICU (neonatal = newborn infants) specializes solely in the treatment of newborns who need a little more TLC. (Hence the first words of each hospital unit!)

So now that you know the difference between these two, know this—if your little one happens to need medical attention, we are fully equipped to meet your needs at EIRMC (yes, another acronym).

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