Not all visits to the emergency department (ED) at Children's Hospital Central California arrive by medical transport, but patients entering the Hospital through the ambulance bay often pass through our ED. Of the greater than 8,000 visits to our ED each month this year, approximately 5 percent arrive via ground or air medical transport.
Children's Hospital first contracted with Med-Trans Corporation of Dallas, Texas, 12 years ago to provide helicopters and pilots for the safe and efficient air transfer of critically ill and injured patients. To give the aircraft and pilots a home, the Guilds gave a total of $2 million between 2004 and 2007 for the construction of the Hospital’s state-of-the-art heliport.
In October 2012, Children’s upgraded to a new, technologically advanced helicopter with significantly more interior room than the original helicopters. The air transport team’s highly skilled critical-care nurses and respiratory therapists make nearly 500 flights per month to transfer medically fragile infants, children and adolescents to lifesaving care at Children’s Hospital. On average, another 850 patients arrive each month via ground transport to Children’s from communities up and down our Valley.
Total ED visits exceeded 78,000 in 2012 and we are on pace for over 90,000 in 2013. To help manage growth, Children’s established an “any patient, any bed” policy to ensure patients avoid a lengthy triage process. Newly arriving patients are taken directly to an open room when available. The same nurse assigned to care for the patient during the family’s ED stay also performs triage.
Children's implemented another timesaving improvement with our “team triage” station. This six-bed pod, staffed by a pediatric emergency physician, two nurses and an emergency support tech (EST), opens the door for patients to see a physician upon arrival to the ED. Simple cases can be discharged directly from team triage. In other cases, the team can begin laboratory tests and imaging procedures even before patients are taken to an ED room. This streamlined process has greatly increased patient and family satisfaction by helping to significantly reduce their overall length of stay in the ED.
When our ED first implemented these changes, our high patient-satisfaction scores propelled our ED from the 10th percentile in a Press-Ganey survey of like hospitals to the 91st percentile in six short months. Our ED staff moves patients from the waiting room to a treatment room so efficiently that our average LWOT (leave without treatment) rate for 2012 was only 0.66 percent compared to the national average of 2.0 percent.
Areas of Greatest Need
Together, the exponential growth of our medical transport services and the successful implementation of timesaving policies and procedures in our burgeoning ED have greatly improved our patients’ access to quality pediatric healthcare. These two high-demand services consistently remain areas of greatest need.
“We had to drive an hour to get to Children’s,” wrote one satisfied parent. “But, the care was much faster than our local ER. The doctors and nurses were amazing and took great care of our child. We would never go anywhere else!”
Your continued support of Children's Hospital Central California means families like these will never have to go anywhere else.
To give to our areas of greatest need, please contact the Children’s Hospital Foundation at 559-353-7100 or Foundation@ChildrensCentralCal.org.