Emergency care for the smallest of patients
By Natalie Conti
When Jake Everett was 18 months old, he took one bite of a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich at day care and his body reacted immediately. He turned dark red, became bloated and vomited repeatedly.
Parents know a lot when it comes to their kids. They know how to scare away the monsters under the bed and they know how to make a boo-boo all better. But what about caring for more serious injuries or illnesses?
Super moms and super dads can rest assured knowing there’s a safe place to take their children that’s designed especially for little ones – the Novant Health Hemby Children's emergency room. Here’s why.
Physicians dedicated to pediatric emergencies
The Hemby Children's Hospital emergency room is the only children's ER in the Charlotte, North Carolina area staffed by board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians.
“You’re dealing with people that have really chosen and really dedicated their lives to taking care of kids,” said Dr. Joanna York, assistant director of the pediatric emergency department at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital. “We are all – first and foremost – pediatricians.”
Eight of the nine physicians on staff are certified in pediatric emergency medicine. The nursing staff also works exclusively in pediatrics.
Certified child life specialists who help comfort and calm worries
To make the ER experience less scary, the Hemby Children’s Hospital emergency team includes certified child life specialists. The main goal of a child life specialist is to help ease the stress and anxiety your newborn, child or teenager may be experiencing in the emergency room. The interaction between a child and his or her care team is unique to what the child needs. In some cases, the child life specialists will bring by a puzzle or a toy, and in other cases, they will help walk a family through what to expect during their child’s stay in the hospital.
“There are countless procedures that I don’t really know how I would have done without the support of a child life specialist,” York said. “Having the child life specialist there singing songs or playing a game completely distracts the child, allowing me to do my job.”
A child-friendly atmosphere outfitted with the right equipment
Everything at the Hemby Children's Hospital ER is designed with children in mind.
“We’re staffed with all of the equipment that would be needed for your child, whereas a regular emergency department may not have the smallest size catheter that’s needed,” York said. “That’s what we have because that’s what we do day in and day out.”
In addition to life-saving equipment, the children’s ER has tiny gowns to fit even the smallest patient, and the décor is uplifting and appealing to kids.
“There’s lots of things to look at, lots of bright colors,” York said. “There are even games out in the emergency waiting room.”
The staff dresses the part, too. You’ll likely see team members wearing polka dots, floral print or cartoons on their scrubs.
A connection to MyChart for seamless patient care
Your child’s electronic medical records are available through MyChart, making it easy for all of your child’s doctors and specialists to be on the same page.
“As emergency medical providers, we have access to all of your child’s records and test results,” York said. “That is so extremely helpful.”
Bring your child to the emergency room or call 911 if he or she is experiencing the following:
- Fever above 100.4 degrees in a newborn less than three months of age.
- Sudden dizziness, weakness or change in vision.
- Severe vomiting or vomiting of blood.
- Bleeding that will not stop after 15 minutes of direct pressure.
- Problems with movement or sensation after an injury.
- A bulging or sunken soft spot in infants.
- Falls from any significant height or from a bicycle/car accident.
Click here to learn about what to expect when you arrive. Call 911 if your child is non-responsive or for serious health concerns, such as difficulty breathing, severe pain and active seizing.