Visiting the emergency room can be a frightening experience, especially for a child. Many children are scared to go see a doctor, much more so the ER, and the accident or injury that prompts a visit to the hospital can be terrifying enough without adding to the equation an environment that is unfriendly to children.
Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, however, hopes to make an already traumatizing experience a little more bearable for kids. May 22, Baptist Beaumont Hospital opened the Albert E. and Gena Reaud Children’s Emergency Center to the public.
Opening the center would not have been possible without the generous donations Baptist Beaumont Hospital received, said Kristie Young, executive director of Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Foundation.
“This Children’s Emergency Center is the first of its kind in Southeast Texas and has brought peace of mind to parents and grandparents knowing this will help us provide superior healthcare for children in our community thanks to the vision and giving spirit of our donors,” Young said. “We are so grateful for the continued benevolence of the Reaud Charitable Foundation that enabled us to establish the Albert E. and Gena Reaud Children’s Emergency Center at Baptist Beaumont Hospital.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children requiring emergency care have unique and special needs. This is especially so for those with serious and life-threatening emergencies.” There are more than 31.4 million child and adolescent visits to emergency departments every year, according to the Child and Adolescent Emergency Department Visit Data Book. That’s an annual rate of 41.2 visits per 100 persons. Of these, more than 13.5 million child and adolescent visits per year (17.8 visits/100 persons) were injury related. Children younger than 3 years represent the largest proportion of medically and injury related visits in this sample.
That’s where the Reaud Children’s Emergency Center comes in.
“We’re hoping that this area is going to provide comfort and less stress for our pediatric patients,” said Laurie Elliott, Pediatric Clinical Coordinator for Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, who has worked in pediatrics for more than 16 years.
This newly created center is changing the way children receive emergency care by creating an environment that is non-threatening and calming to children and informative to their parents, a press release from the hospital states.
A child’s environment is extremely important to his or her development, according to InformeDesign, a University of Minnesota research organization that links interior design and human behavior.
“Because children are in the process of developing physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills, their interactions with the physical environment can have long-lasting effects.”
When children and their parents arrive at the center, they will be welcomed into the children’s waiting area with child-size accommodations. They will follow a sea adventure down the specially designed hallway as they arrive to the five-bed pediatric emergency center.
“We have staff that are used to pediatrics. We have a child life specialist — somebody who can come in and is trained to help our patients be distracted,” Elliott said. “They play games and we have stickers and Band-Aids … all that fun stuff.”
And when its time to get serious, Medical Director Dr. Ali Osman said the center is qualified and equipped to care for each child.
“It will have specialized advanced practice nurses and board certified physicians who have a lot of expertise in taking care of pediatric patients,” Osman said. “The equipment and the rooms are specifically for pediatric care. Every piece of equipment is geared to our pediatric patients. Children will not have to wait long hours before being seen.”
Equipped to treat a wide range of pediatric medical problems for patients from infancy through 16 years of age, the Albert E. and Gena Reaud Children’s Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Young added, “Other donors helping make the project possible are the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Beaumont, Texas who generously provided funding for a special waiting area just for kids; the Jean Pipkin Charitable Trust; Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Foundation, HEB Tournament of Champions and MobilOil Federal Credit Union.”
Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas has been serving the community for more than 60 years.
“Our health care system is dedicated to providing quality health services and Sacred Work in a Christian environment in order to improve health care for members of the Southeast Texas community,” the hospital’s website states.
For more information, visit www.bhset.net.