With increasing medical advancements in treatment and technology, patients battling life-threatening conditions are living longer and heading home sooner than ever before. As a result, many patients are returning to their communities with challenging special needs, and they often bring along complicated equipment and supplies that help them live happier, fuller lives.
As a result, Columbus Children’s Hospital is pioneering a new program that connects these families with local Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) in their communities. The idea is to help educate and prepare emergency workers for the worst by introducing them to the patients and the cutting edge medical equipment they depend on – equipment that years ago, never left the hospital setting.
“You develop a rapport between the families and emergency workers,” says Kate Shaner, R.N., Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordinator at Columbus Children’s Hospital. “When EMTs have the opportunity to meet and assess a child in a low-stress, non-emergency situation, they’re better prepared to act during a crisis.”
The program combines classroom-style technical training with an old-fashioned family meeting. First, EMS Coordinators from Columbus Children’s Hospital schedule a training session with each emergency department that could potentially be called to respond to the patient’s home. They instruct EMTs on the patient’s background, medical condition, potential for medical emergencies and necessary equipment. Then, Children’s arranges for the emergency workers and family to meet face-to-face at the patient’s home. Both groups are able to get to know each other and ask questions, and both events only take place if the family wants to participate in the program.
Columbus Children’s Hospital was recently ranked first in the country by Child Magazine when it comes to providing outstanding pediatric emergency care. This program is just another example of Columbus Children’s Hospital’s commitment to family-centered care, which focuses on the needs of the entire family as well as the needs of the patient.
“If we can send patients and their families home prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead, then we know that we’ve provided the best care possible,” says Sherri Kovach, R.N., Children’s EMS coordinator.
Pam Barber / Mary Ellen Fiorino
Columbus Children's Hospital Marketing and Public Relations