Background and aims In France, the department of paediatrics is expected to admit every patient up to 18 years. However, admission age is occasionally limited to 16, even 15, without any medical reason. In our opinion, patient overload is increasing in adult intensive care units (ICU), therefore the admission of adolescents should be PICU responsibility. We conducted a study evaluating PICU policies toward patients over the age of 15 years.
Methods A survey was conducted from July 25th to December 31st 2012. The PICUs listed in the GFRUP (Groupe Francophone de Réanimation et d’Urgence Pédiatrique) were asked to complete an on-line form about their unit, training level of the physicians and their unit policies concerning age limits for admission.
Results 22 units completed the form (55%). Each PICU team was composed of at least one paediatrician and one physician trained in intensive care. 46% of PICUs occasionally admitted patients over 18 years of age. 96% admitted patients up-to 18 years, however among them only 33% consistently admitted them without restriction. One unit admitted to never admitting patients over 15,25 years old, considering this age as the limit of paediatric practice.
Conclusion The PICUs were all equipped with adequately trained physicians to care for paediatric patients. The vast majority of PICUs admitted patients up to 18 years of age, but only a few considered this standard of care. They assume responsibility for problems related to long standing paediatric medical background or classic paediatric condition, regardless of patient age.