Recent study findings suggest improvements have been made in the pediatric readiness of EDs across the United States, and the addition of pediatric emergency care coordinators has played an important role in these improvements.
“The importance for EDs to maintain a state of readiness to care for children cannot be overemphasized because day-to-day readiness affects disaster planning and response and patient safety,” Marianne Gausche-Hill, MD, of the department of emergency medicine at Harbour-University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, and colleagues wrote.
The study included data on 24 million pediatric ED visits from Sept. 12, 2013 through Jan. 11. Gausche-Hill and colleagues assessed a web-based survey on the pediatric readiness of 4,137 EDs open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
“The Emergency Nurses Association joined the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians in co-sponsoring pediatric readiness efforts,” according to a press release. “The first step of the initiative was a 55-question, web-based assessment of ED readiness for children, as measured by compliance with 2009 national guidelines.”
Overall, 69.4% of EDs had low or medium pediatric volume, treating less than 14 children daily.
The reported median weighted pediatric readiness score (WPRS) was 68.9. Compared with a median WPRS of 89.8 for the high-volume pediatric EDs, median WPRS was 61.4 for low-volume pediatric EDs (P < .001).
According to the researchers, the median percentage of recommended pediatric equipment available was 91%. For all pediatric volume categories, when compared with an adjusted mean WPRS of 66.5 for EDs without a physician and nurse pediatric emergency coordinator, the adjusted mean WPRS was 82.2 for EDs with a physician and nurse pediatric emergency coordinator.
The likelihood of having all recommended components was increased by the presence of pediatric emergency care coordinators (adjusted RR = 4.11; 95% CI, 3.37-5.02). More than 80% of ED respondents reported that barriers, including training costs and a shortage of educational resources, impaired guideline implementation.
“We describe the successful implementation of a comprehensive assessment by a national coalition that achieved a high response rate and is poised for further engagement with the goal to ensure day-to-day pediatric readiness of our nation’s EDs,” Gausche-Hill and colleagues wrote. – by Jennifer Southall
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.