The new Pediatric Emergency Room at Shands Hospital for Children at the University of Florida opened on July 1, 2011, becoming north central Florida’s first emergency room specifically geared toward kids.
Located at Shands at the University of Florida, the Pediatric ER has a separate entrance with free valet parking for adults transporting children, and an adjacent parking garage for visitors. Calming, child-friendly décor with a nautical theme enhances the check-in and waiting areas, with porthole windows, saltwater aquariums and floors made to look like waves adding to the atmosphere.
More important, families have access to an expanded team of UF pediatric emergency medicine physicians and Shands pediatric emergency-trained nurses, additional treatment space and the latest medical technology.
“This new Pediatric ER benefits our patients and our UF&Shands teams,” said Jennifer Light, M.D., UF College of Medicine clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine and Pediatric ER medical director. “We’ve created an environment just for families, staffed by people committed to the care of children. This generates great positive energy and the opportunity for us to improve services and the whole experience for young patients and their families.”
The Pediatric ER is staffed by seven UF board-certified or board-eligible pediatric emergency medicine physicians and 22 Shands pediatric-trained emergency medicine registered nurses. The team will be able to treat up to 24,000 pediatric emergency patients a year.
The facility has its own check-in area, two waiting areas, nine private and two semi-private treatment rooms, five observation beds, two exam rooms for children with infectious conditions, two resuscitation rooms and a conscious-sedation room for casting broken bones and stitching wounds. Its dedicated radiology imaging room is equipped to deliver the lowest-dose radiation to young patients.
“As they grow, children place so much trust in their parents, especially when things go a little wrong. Sometimes a kiss and a bandage are all they need when a bump or bruise has temporarily sent them to the sidelines. But families often need help when the problem is more serious,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System. “We understand the importance of this implicit trust. That’s in part what we mean when we talk about being here ’For the Life of Your Child.’ So today, we dedicate the Pediatric Emergency Room at Shands Hospital for Children at the University of Florida to all children in our community.”
Emergency Medical Services will still transport children with life-threatening illnesses or injuries to the Level 1 trauma center at the Shands Critical Care Center. Women more than 16 weeks pregnant in active labor may be taken to the Shands Critical Care Center or Labor and Delivery at Shands at UF. Wherever patients arrive, the medical team will screen and stabilize them and transfer them to the right place for continuing care.
The new Pediatric ER includes a designated space for Pediatrics After Hours, which will move from the Shands Medical Plaza on July 20. Pediatrics After Hours is a collaborative effort between UF College of Medicine and community pediatricians who, along with Shands nursing staff, provide appointment-only urgent primary care and non-emergency services.
The Pediatric ER and Pediatrics After Hours staff have efficient access to the interdisciplinary teams at the Shands Hospital for Children. UF pediatric experts are available for consultation in more than 13 medical specialties, including pediatric surgery, cardiology, and hematology and oncology.
Renovation of the hospital space to create the Pediatric ER has cost approximately $5 million. The goal is to fully fund the facility by raising $10 million to cover construction,
equipment and operating support for the first two years. Shands employees were invited to donate to an internal campaign, and they exceeded the $100,000 goal with nearly $300,000 in pledges. UF faculty and staff members also have contributed.
Meanwhile, the project has generated generous support from several donors: the Dance Marathon ($750,000), the Children’s Miracle Network ($550,000), the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation ($500,000), Leo and Nola Flowers ($484,000 estate gift), and Kay Davison ($100,000).
“Creating the Pediatric ER is an exciting step forward in our commitment to enhancing services for children,” said Timothy M. Goldfarb, Shands CEO. “By providing this state-of-the-art facility and equipment, we’re supporting the expert care provided by our dedicated teams of UF doctors and Shands nurses and the entire health care team. We appreciate the tremendous support from employees and the community.”