Children's Hospital Colorado

Pediatric Intensive Care Quality and Patient Safety Outcomes

No one expects that their child will end up in the ICU. Our team is equipped to help patients and families traverse that journey, with the expertise, compassion and empathy that they need to heal.

In many ways, pediatric intensive care is the heart of our hospital — a hub that serves and drives outcomes for every specialty. Patients with acute disease and trauma, patients coming out of surgeries and organ transplants, patients with complicated conditions — the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children's Hospital Colorado cares for them all.

As a regional supercenter and the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in a 350-mile radius, our PICU cares for some of the most acute, high-risk pediatric conditions in seven states. And our PICU team handles higher volumes while providing better outcomes and shorter stays than the national average — by a wide margin.

At Children's Colorado, we evaluate our success by comparing our PICU outcomes with other top pediatric hospitals. Transparency with our patients and colleagues is one of the keys to our success as one of the top children's hospitals in the U.S.

We measure various outcomes to ensure that we're providing the highest level of pediatric critical care for our patients.

PICU volumes

Children's Colorado is home to one of the busiest PICUs in the country. In fact, our PICU treats more patients annually compared to the averages of our peer institutions. This means we have more experience treating patients with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.


With clinical staffing to match our busy unit, each child receives the individual attention and constant monitoring they need.

PICU survival rates

Our dedication to providing exceptional care to every patient allows us to achieve PICU survival rates among the best in the country. Our overall patient survival rate is 98%, outperforming the national average.

Mortality in our PICU is much lower than the national average. The following graph shows the standardized mortality ratio (SMR), or the predicted mortality given how severe a patient's illness is, against the actual outcome. The lower the ratio, the better. We then compare that measure against the national average.

Standardized Mortality Ratio (PRISM III)

PICU Infographic Mortality.jpgEven though our patients are more critically ill than nearby hospitals’, they survive at a higher rate than expected. Our SMR is also below the national average.

Length of stay in the PICU

Our goal is to safely get kids home or to their next step in care as quickly as possible.

The standardized or severity-adjusted length-of-stay ratio (SLOSR) predicts length of stay based on the severity of the child's condition. Here, too, we are better than the national average.

Standardized LOS Ratio (PRISM III)

PICU Infographic LOS.jpgOur patients are sicker than at other PICUs, but they leave our PICU sooner than expected.

Effective and efficient care in the PICU

The gold standard for pediatric intensive care is to help kids get the best outcome as quickly as possible. That’s why we track our mortality ratio in relation to our length of stay ratio.

We compare our mortality ratio (SMR) to our length of stay ratio (SLOSR) and then judge that against national averages.

95th Percentile in both standardized mortality ratio and length of stay ratio

We scored as well or better than 95% of similar institutions when comparing our standardized mortality ratio to our standardized length of stay ratio. Our patients have a higher survival rate than expected and a shorter length of stay than expected. We rank higher than almost all similar institutions when considering both of these measures.

"Our pediatric intensive care outcomes are a big part of the success of the entire institution. We're committed to continuously improving that care through quality improvement and research."
Todd Carpenter, MD

Learn more about how we care for children with critical illness in our PICU.