No Little Feat: Improving Emergency Care for Our Youngest Patients

Julie and Daniel Holland of Fairfield with daughters Elizabeth and Elaina speak with Greg Stangland, R.N., in one of the new child-friendly Emergency Department rooms.

Advanced trauma services and emergency care for children continue to grow in NorthBay Healthcare’s two hospitals. In late October, both emergency departments achieved designation as Emergency Departments Approved for Pediatrics, or EDAP, concluding a yearlong effort to focus on enhanced care for young patients.

At the urging of NorthBay clinical leaders, Solano County Emergency Medical Services officials began setting criteria for EDAP hospitals earlier in 2013. “Studies across the state and nation were showing emergency rooms simply weren’t focusing on the difference between adult and pediatric patients,” explained Daman Mott, director of Trauma and Emergency Services. “We brought it to the attention of county officials who agreed something should be done.”

Meanwhile, NorthBay Medical Center’s Level III Trauma Center by far remains the busiest emergency department for the most critically injured. It sees three to four patients for every one who travels to the county’s Level II trauma hospital on the eastern edge of Vacaville.

Both emergency departments achieved designation as Emergency Departments Approved for Pediatrics, or EDAP, focusing on enhanced care for young patients.

NorthBay continues to develop new services that align with the trauma program—including neurosurgery and the NorthBay Center for Neuroscience, said Kathy Richerson, vice president and chief nursing officer. “These programs, built to complement and support a trauma program, are standing strong on their own. Dr. Jeffrey Dembner sustains a busy practice, proving that there was a need here.”

An EDAP comprises enhanced staff training, refined pediatric patient safety, policies and protocols, standardized equipment, supplies and medications. “It complements our trauma program and the expansion of advanced medicine we have brought closer to home,” Richerson said.

“NorthBay’s Fairfield hospital is the only one in northern Solano County with a full-spectrum pediatric program—around-the-clock pediatric hospitalists, in-patient services, labor and delivery, and neonatal intensive care,” explained Deborah Sugiyama, president of NorthBay Healthcare Group.

Children’s Hospital Oakland and UC Davis Medical Center, where the most seriously injured children continue to receive care, continue to be good partners.

“Even with our higher, more sophisticated designation, and our very busy NorthBay Trauma Center in Fairfield, seriously injured pediatric patients will best be treated at those specialty hospitals because of the complexity and extraordinary care they need,” Richerson added.

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