New Pediatric ICU Opens to Serve East Bay Children

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Launches State-of-the Art Intensive Care Unit

By Lorna Fernandes

two staff members work in the a ICU room

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland will welcome its first patients tomorrow in a newly remodeled, state-of-the-art Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), offering private rooms, a healing environment, and four times its previous space. 

The 20,000-square-foot facility, located on the second floor of the main hospital building, is the latest milestone in UCSF’s ongoing investment to expand and enhance services in the 109-year-old Oakland hospital for children in Oakland and the greater Bay Area. 

“The newly renovated PICU will help our teams provide the highest quality of care for our patients and their families in a calming, healing environment,” said Matt Cook, president, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “This is a major step forward in modernizing our facilities to enhance the care we provide and better serve our communities on both sides of the Bay.”  

The new PICU is the capstone of the first phase of renovations for the Oakland hospital since its 2014 affiliation with UCSF, which brought together two renowned institutions to serve patients on both sides of the Bay with the highest standards of pediatric care. The second phase will include further modernizations of facilities and equipment over the next decade. 

The newly renovated PICU will help our teams provide the highest quality of care for our patients and their families in a calming, healing environment.

Matt Cook, president of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals

The PICU’s 21 private rooms feature peaceful décor and natural light to provide a respite for patients and families, while offering state-of-the-art medical equipment that can be customized to meet the needs of each patient. Every room includes a sleeping couch for overnight visitors, as well as access to a private parent lounge to help ease stress and offer support for the family members who are integral to a child’s healing. 

In a nod to local artists, the new unit highlights original works of art, starting with a 46-foot mural leading from the main hallway to the family waiting room. The mural features a whimsical landscape of children and animals surrounding the floating words “Hope,” “Care,” “Courage” and “Comfort,” and was generously commissioned by the family of a young Oakland PICU patient. 

“We were struck by BCH Oakland being a place where every child is served and no one is turned away,” said Linda Wight, grandmother of the young patient. “In those moments of waiting, reality hits you hard and it hits you quickly, and I found myself holding my breath a lot in that waiting room. I hope the families there, from all backgrounds, look at those words and think, ‘I can exhale.’” 

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals are among the nation’s leading pediatric specialty hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings. Their expertise covers virtually all pediatric conditions, including cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders, pulmonology, diabetes and endocrinology, as well as the care of critically ill newborns. The two campuses in San Francisco and Oakland are known worldwide for basic and clinical research and are at the forefront of translating research into interventions for treating and preventing pediatric disease. They are part of UCSF Health, whose adult hospital ranks among the top 10 medical centers nationwide and serves as the teaching hospital for the University of California, San Francisco, a national leader in biomedical research and graduate-level health/sciences education.