Story by: Kim Huston on June 18, 2019
Your child has an accident and your pediatrician’s office is closed; or maybe you’re traveling. When your child needs emergency care, it’s tempting to go to the closest hospital or immediate care center so he or she can find relief as quickly as possible. However, hospitals and urgent care centers that serve adults may not be able to provide your child with the specialist care he or she needs. Why should you go to a pediatric emergency room or pediatric emergency department for your child’s care?
It’s important that a child gets the specialized care he or she needs when injured or ill. When your child visits a pediatrician’s office, a pediatric urgent care or pediatric emergency department, you know that your child is being seen by physicians, nurses and staff with specialized training in procedures, policies, and care for kids. A pediatric emergency department has specialized equipment and testing protocols as well as a kid-friendly environment to help children feel as comfortable as possible.
Say your child fell, and his or her arm hurts. If you go to a pediatric emergency department and an X-ray is ordered, your child will be cared for by pediatric radiology specialists. Pediatric radiologists will use equipment and procedures specially designed for kids — that will keep radiation exposure low while capturing high-quality images to help your child’s care team develop the best treatment plan. The radiology exam rooms are designed with children in mind; kid-friendly and soothing images and sounds can help them relax and be less scared. Child life therapists can explain the steps of getting an X-ray to your child in a way he or she understands, help ease anxiety and provide age appropriate distractions to help the child be comfortable in the environment.
The emergency department treats approximately 60,000 children each year. The staff is trauma certified, and nurses have pediatric advanced life support certification.
A pediatric urgent care or pediatric emergency department is able to deliver the care children need, but pediatric specialists also know when children don’t need care. Pediatric providers stay up-to-date with evidence-based guidelines for pediatric care –– so they won’t suggest a procedure or testing when your child just needs rest. Back to the X-ray example: If having an X-ray isn’t necessary to make the diagnosis or won’t change how a child’s condition is treated, it won’t be ordered. Pediatric specialists can give you detailed instructions in that situation so you know when to get care with your pediatrician or return to the emergency department. On the other hand, pediatric specialists are trained in recognizing the rare diagnoses pediatric patients may have, diagnoses not known to adult physicians. Either way, your child will get the level of care he or she needs at the appropriate time.
Norton Children’s has three pediatric emergency department locations to provide trauma and emergency care designed “Just for Kids.” Each of our locations offers 24-hour emergency services and features equipment and facilities to provide care for children from newborns to age 21. Norton Children’s Hospital has been verified as pediatric readyby the Kentucky Pediatric Emergency Care Coalition, a designation currently carried by only three emergency departments in the state. This means that our pediatric emergency department has the proper policies, processes, staff and equipment to effectively treat children.
Norton Children’s Hospital is the region’s only full-service, free-standing pediatric hospital and the only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in Louisville. Being a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center means the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma certifies that Norton Children’s Hospital can provide the best care for the most severely injured children 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our emergency department has board-certified, fellowship-trained emergency medicine physicians, pediatric trauma surgeons in-house 24/7, as well as trauma-certified staff.