Critical Illness Recovery for ChiLdrEn (CIRCLE) Program

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh offers an innovative service for families with children healing from a severe illness.

The CIRCLE program helps your child safely shift from hospital to home. It also provides ongoing care over the months to come.

Download the journal, "Our Journey through the Pediatric ICU." (PDF)

Life After the ICU: Helping Kids and Families Heal

It's normal to feel scared and confused if your child is in the ICU facing one or more of the following:

The good news is that more children survive trauma or critical illness now than they did in the past.

But survival isn't the same as full recovery.

Down the road, it's likely your child will have serious medical needs and face challenges that could affect their development and success in school such as:

  • Physical (such as learning to walk again).
  • Emotional (such as sadness or trouble sleeping).
  • Cognitive (such as memory loss).

Doctors call this combination of symptoms and health issues post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).

Children with PICS may feel:

  • Anxious or depressed.
  • Frustrated because recovery is slow.
  • Overwhelmed trying to adjust at school, as it may be hard to catch up with other students.

You'll need help and support to meet these challenges ahead.

That's where the CIRCLE program comes in. We screen for PICS and address the needs of your whole family through a range of other services.

Our focus is on the well-being and quality of life for your child and family.

Having a child in the ICU is a life-changing, stressful time. So is going home with a child who has many health medical needs.

Our team of experts is on hand to provide guidance, support, and practical help with the challenges ahead.

Contact the CIRCLE Program

To learn more about the CIRCLE Program, email us at

Why Choose the CIRCLE Program at UPMC Children's Hospital?

A leader in children's critical health care

The Department of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine:

  • Is at the forefront of caring for gravely ill children.
  • Admits more than 3,000 kids each year. They come from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and other places in and outside the U.S.
  • Provides full intensive pediatric care for all young people — from newborns to teens.

Experts in every field

The CIRCLE program brings together a wide range of experts to care for your critically ill child, in and out of the hospital.

Cutting-edge research

UPMC Children's has the fastest-growing pediatric research program in the nation.

Our researchers lead the way in many areas of children's critical care studies. The goal is always to prevent or cure childhood diseases.