Information for Children and Young Adults

Visiting the intensive care or High dependency Unit can be an extremely difficult and challenging time for the whole family. If you are planning to bring children or young people to visit relatives within critical care please seek support and guidance from the medical or nursing team. There is no fixed age limit with regards visiting intensive care, but it can be a frightening experience for younger children, and an emotionally overwhelming experience for older children. Each family (and their child's understanding) is different. 

We will do what we can to help facilitate visits, but as a general idea, we would counsel against bringing younger children (under 12 years) into critical care if it can possibly be avoided.


Below is some information to help with the process

The charity ICUsteps has produced a number of  booklets to help support patients and relative through their critical care stay and recovery.  

'Visiting the Intensive Care Unit' is an activity booklet designed to introduce children to the ICU produced by ICUsteps.


If you feel a copy would be useful please ask a member of staff, alternatively an electronic copy can be downloaded from the ICUsteps website or links on this page.

An alternative comic booklet is also available, and produced by Medikidz. This is targeted at older children, and aims to promote understanding

of critical illness and the processes within critical care.

We may have paper copies available, please ask a member of staff. 

The Great North Children's Hospital (GNCH) forms part of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and is based at the RVI site in Newcastle hospitals, with some children's services provided at Freeman Hospital. 

This enables us to access specialist advice and support for young family members of patients within critical care. This may include play therapy, counselling services, or children's bereavement services on those rare occasions it may be helpful.