About 25% of all emergency department patients are kids. But too often, they don’t get the care they need. The younger the patient, the more likely he or she is to not get sufficient physical evaluation, early diagnosis, or pain relief. Most ED physicians are not as clinically confident with children as they are with adult patients.

Clinicians and administrators need special training to understand why and how to ensure that their ED is “kid-certified.” A kid-certified ED demonstrates to the community that the hospital is fully prepared to serve all members of the community, even the youngest. Certification offers an extra level of comfort to parents who bring their children to the ED.

Certification is the outcome of a comprehensive process

VEP Healthcare developed VEPeds™, a comprehensive program to meet the challenges of delivering pediatric emergency care. The program outlines how to evaluate and enhance pediatric emergency services.

Each assessment requires resources, education, training, and operational support. Usually, the VEPeds Program Director and a nurse work closely with the hospital’s ED Director, ED Nurse Manager, pediatric staff, ED staff, and hospital administration to help implement a 12-month improvement project with goals and metrics unique to each individual site and situation.

The project specifically addresses problems documented in the medical literature that cause catastrophic delays and deficiencies in care for children in the ED. The VEPed program helps hospitals fully comply with the national policy statement, “Guidelines for the Care of Children in the Emergency Department,” endorsed by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and more than 20 other national clinical organizations.

Progressing from self-assessment to implementation

The VEPeds ED Self-Assessment Tool reviews an organization’s level of preparedness for children and compliance with the AAP, ACEP, and ENA joint policy statement.

Beyond pediatric emergency physician and nurse qualifications and competency, the self-assessment examines equipment, supplies, and medications used with pediatric patients, plus logistical issues such as inter-facility transfer procedures.

The VEPeds program also provides EDs with an Implementation Kit containing recommendations for quality improvements, clinical practice guidelines, and more. Generally, EDs have 12 months to implement recommendations – with training and consultation from VEP Healthcare – before earning recognition as being “kid-certified.”

To see what VEP can do to help ensure your ED is kid-certified, please contact Mitesh Patel, MD, at mpatel@vephealthcare.com.

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