If you haven’t been to the emergency department with an ill or injured child lately, you may not realize how things have changed. Here’s a run-down from Upstate’s Richard Cantor MD, director of the Pediatric Emergency Department: (Listen to an interview on this subject.)
* “Family care” is a recognition that the child is not the only patient, that often a sibling and parents are also present. Child life specialists – made possible through donations from the Children’s Miracle Network – now staff the department to assist families.
* Wait times have decreased. Average minutes from walking through the door to meeting a triage nurse is 14 minutes; from triage to room placement is about 35 minutes; and from room placement to health care provider entering the room is 12 minutes.
* Pain management is an important part of care now. Children are sedated before uncomfortable procedures, often by inhalation of medication rather than a needle injection. “The days of children crying in emergency departments are over,” Cantor says.
* A weight-based medication delivery system means a computer generates a child’s exact dosage, based on size, reducing medication errors.
* To help reduce exposure to radiation, Upstate participated in a national study to help determine which children with a head injuries need CT scans and which don’t. Doctors also rely more on sonography for help quickly diagnosing children with, for instance, belly pain. Cantor says imaging that does not use radiation “is less expensive, less time consuming and less harmful to the child.”
Listen to an interview with Dr. Cantor on this subject.