Critical Illness Recovery for ChiLdrEn (CIRCLE) Program Services

For children in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) healing from critical illness, care doesn't stop with their release from the hospital.

The CIRCLE program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh equips children and their families with tools to face the challenges ahead.

Before doctors release your child from the hospital, you'll meet with experts from a wide range of fields including:

Once you get home, we'll stay in touch to offer guidance and support.

Contact the CIRCLE Program

To learn more about the CIRCLE Program, email us at

What Services Does the CIRCLE Program Offer?

Care in the hospital

The journey home begins when your child is still in the hospital.

While in the ICU, the CIRCLE program provides:

  • Weekly multidisciplinary rounds by a wide range of specialists.
  • Screening for post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).
  • Utilization of questionnaires to track child and family recovery.
  • Creation of personalized recovery plan through collaboration with families and the multidisciplinary care team.

Screening and support for post-intensive care syndrome (PICS)

The stress of having a life-threatening disease and many different procedures can bring on PICS.

PICS is a mix of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms.

It may cause your child to:

  • Feel anxious or depressed.
  • Have nightmares or trouble sleeping.
  • Have trouble adjusting to school.
  • Have problems focusing.
  • Have trouble with physical skills, like walking.
  • Suffer memory loss.

The right support system may:

  • Recognize and deal with these challenges early on to help reduce long-term problems.
  • Lower the risk of your child needing to return to the hospital for another stay. Our experts can catch new or recurring issues before they become more serious.
  • Ease stress for the whole family.

Care after the hospital

It's not just children who suffer from stress after being in the PICU. It may be hard for the whole family to get back to “normal" life, especially if your child still has profound health needs.

After going home, the CIRCLE program offers:

  • Custom services for children and families at increased risk of PICS. We arrange care from the hospital to home, school, and work.
  • Post-PICU follow-up appointment to review your child and family’s recovery.
    • Outreach via the virtual CIRCLE clinic, the CIRCLE travel clinic, and remote telehealth services.
  • Continued contact and engagement with you and your child.
  • Educational resources for your child's loved ones, doctors, and school.
  • Outreach to your child's PCP and specialists and school to help with a smooth return to home life.