Our kid-friendly ERs are safe and ready to help

October 21, 2020 | by Jennifer McNulty, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

It’s every parent’s nightmare: your child is sick or injured and you think a hospital visit may be in order.

While no parent wants to take their child to the hospital — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — emergencies can’t wait.

Any delay in seeking emergency treatment can put your child at risk for more dangerous health consequences. Since it’s rare for children to become seriously ill with no warning, severe symptoms should never be taken lightly, especially since certain symptoms can worsen more quickly in children than adults.

When to go to the ER

Anything that would have prompted you to bring your child to the ER in the past should warrant a visit now. Your child may need emergency care when he/she is having trouble breathing, badly injured, unresponsive or unconscious, or shows any of these signs. When it’s a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.

Also, behavioral health emergencies in children are rising during the pandemic, so be on the lookout for warning signs, and seek help immediately for your child.

If you aren’t sure what to do, your first point of contact is usually your child’s primary care doctor. Even if it’s after hours, the doctor on-call can help you decide whether a trip to the ER is needed.

The bottom line: don’t let worries about COVID-19 exposure cloud your thinking if you believe your child needs medical care fast. In that case, the emergency room is your safest option. Plus, hospitals across the country have implemented strict safety practices to prevent the spread of the virus.

Why it’s safe to go to the ER

Edward-Elmhurst Health’s three fully-equipped Emergency Departments (EDs) — in Naperville, Elmhurst and Plainfield — provide specialized emergency care for your child. We’ve put numerous measures in place to keep everyone safe: 

  • Visitor screening and restrictions. Before entering our EDs, all staff, patients and visitors are screened for a temperature greater than 100 degrees and masked. While visitors are being restricted at all our sites, both parents may accompany children under 17. See the latest updates to our visitor policy.

     

  • Strict cleaning and disinfecting. We have employed extra staff who are specifically assigned to clean and sanitize our EDs on a frequent basis.

     

  • Designated COVID-19 care areas. We’ve implemented multiple safety measures to minimize risk of COVID-19 cross-contamination, including placing suspected and known COVID-19 patients in designated areas in the ED, with critically ill patients placed in negative-pressure isolation rooms that have a separate airflow system and dedicated care teams.

     

  • Universal masking. All visitors must wear a mask at all times. Our ED staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical masks, eyewear, gowns, gloves, etc., when interacting with patients.

     

  • COVID-19 patient testing prior to procedures. COVID-19 testing is available at our nine convenient outpatient lab locations for patients with a physician’s order. In the ED, COVID-19 testing is taking place for patients with COVID-19 symptoms or prior to certain procedures.

     

  • Advanced triage system to limit exposure. Patient registration is being done remotely and our ED waiting areas are monitored by our triage team leaders who help ensure social distancing. 

Before and during COVID-19, our hospitals have earned national recognition in patient safety and quality. Open around-the-clock, our kid-friendly Emergency Departments provide streamlined care focused on the unique needs of children.

Our EDs are staffed by emergency medicine doctors and nurses trained in pediatric and trauma care and pediatric advanced life support. Our EDs have kid-friendly waiting areas and family-friendly rooms that are designed to put children at ease, along with child-sized equipment designed for their sizes, shapes and needs. Child life specialists are also available to help younger patients relax and prepare for treatment.

Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Emergency Departments are recognized as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics. Edward Hospital is one of only 10 Pediatric Critical Care Centers in Illinois offering a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for children who need critical care, and pediatric-trained transport teams are available at Elmhurst Hospital ED and Plainfield ED.

Learn more about our pediatric emergency care and check our ED wait times.

ER, Immediate Care, Walk-in Clinic or doctor’s office? Read our levels of care guide to help you decide.

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health offers 24-hour Help Line at 630-305-5027 for anyone in crisis.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, your safety and well-being continue to remain our top priority. When you visit us, you will find consistent safety measures in place. Learn more about our Safety Commitment.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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