When to Refer

There are no hard and fast rules about when to refer a critically ill child to the CATS team. We make a decision about mobilising the retrieval team on a case-by-case basis, based on patient acuity, potential for deterioration and the resources available at the referring hospital. Our primary role is, however, to perform retrievals of children needing admission to a PICU.

Refer to CATS if a senior clinician is concerned that the child is deteriorating
Many hospitals ring CATS as soon as they are first concerned that a sick child is deteriorating and may need intensive care. In fact, an early discussion may help optimise treatment and potentially even avert a PICU admission.
Refer to CATS even if the patient does not fulfil absolute criteria for PICU admission
Over 500 referrals are made to CATS each year for consultation/advice. We spend over 6 hours of consultation time on each such referral. Most of these children do not get retrieved to a PICU.
Refer to CATS even if the child is not intubated but needs PICU admission
CATS perform nearly 200 PICU transfers each year of children who are not invasively ventilated. These children may be newborns with duct-dependent congenital heart disease, children with diabetic ketoacidosis or patients with other complex conditions.