Research looks at children in ED

Recognizing and re-emphasizing the fact that children are a distinct population of patients in the ED, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) have released a joint policy statement that includes guidelines for the care of children in emergency departments. The statement was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

"We wanted to draw attention to the role that children play in the overall scheme of the ED," says Alfred Sacchetti, MD, FACEP, chief of emergency services at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, NJ; a spokesman for ACEP; and a member of the committee that developed the guidelines. "The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Joint Commission, and others have been establishing sets of standards for adult patients, and part of this effort was to say that we also want to have the same attention focused on the children — in other words, don't let the kids get lost in the overall avalanches of protocols being launched by other organizations."

The guidelines should be particularly helpful for EDs in community hospitals, adds AnnMarie Papa, MSN, RN, CEN, FAEN, president-elect of ENA for 2010. "When you think about pediatric care, most children's care for emergencies is done in community emergency facilities," Papa says. In light of the fact that the Institute of Medicine has called care of children "uneven," "We wanted to address that," she says. "Hopefully our statement provides a good overview about what a basic community hospital needs."