Caring for a Child's Unique Needs: PA Health Network Plans Pediatric ED

Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media , March 11, 2010

The ED will feature special attention to employing state-of-the-art pain reduction methods, with a goal to manage a child's pain through staff education, consistent assessment criteria, implementation of protocols, and technology. There will also be a child life specialist on site to interact with the children and allay their fears. According to MacKenzie, research has shown severe pain and worry can stick with children for a long time, and even permanently.

"Innovation in pediatric care will reach the bedside faster here—the dedication to new knowledge in this specialty area will create the situation where this will occur," he says. "From a satisfaction standpoint . . . this will be a brightly colored, fun-looking space designed to lift one's spirit even in times of suffering."

MacKenzie adds that the creation of pediatric emergency departments at other U.S. hospitals has shown that a separate space for such treatment can further reduce wait times for both child and adult emergencies.

John Van Brakle, MD, LVHN's chair of pediatrics, says an emergency room dedicated to serving the needs of children is the next logical step for the network.

"We currently offer our young patients and their families access to a wide range of specialty care services, including a specialty care center, pediatric intensive care unit—the only one in the region—neonatal intensive care unit, and the most experienced trauma center in the region treating adults and children," Van Brakle said in a statement. "A pediatric emergency department would take the care of children, especially those with special healthcare needs, to the next level."

Ben Cole is an associate online editor with HealthLeaders Media. He can be reached at

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