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St. Mary’s Debuts Newly Expanded Pediatric Emergency Department

New approach to pediatric emergency care provides a less intimidating, more comforting ED environment for children

March 27, 2013

Children requiring a visit to the emergency room now are benefiting from a newly expanded, child-friendly Pediatric Emergency Department (ED), dedicated solely to children at

Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. Now separate from the Adult ED and with its own private entrance, the Pediatric ED is the result of a $12 million campus renovation and expansion that included St. Mary’s Adult, Pediatric and Senior Emergency departments.

“St. Mary’s newly expanded Pediatric ED offers the latest approach in pediatric emergency care available in central Virginia and we are proud to officially open our doors to the central Virginia community,” said William Lennarz, M.D., chief medical officer of Pediatrics and vice president of Children’s Services, Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Our staff is made up of more specialists in pediatric emergency medicine than all other facilities in central Virginia combined.”

The Pediatric ED has a separate entrance and a waiting area equipped with child-friendly chairs and an interactive wall, as well as 14 private treatment rooms, all with state-of-the art pediatric equipment. It is staffed by a team of physicians and nurses – all specially trained in pediatric emergency medicine – as well as a child-life specialist, whose calming presence and specialized care helps children and caregivers cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury and hospitalization. It is also the only emergency department in Richmond with 24/7 coverage by pediatric orthopaedic specialists.

“We are proud to have attracted a talented group of specialists,” said Toni Ardabell, CEO, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “They have been trained at some of the top children’s hospitals in the nation, including Boston Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and they bring with them the most advanced practice of specialized care for children with emergent illness or injury.”

About 22,000 patients are treated in the pediatric emergency department at St. Mary’s Hospital annually.

“St. Mary’s is improving the way we care for children, in a space specifically designed for them,” added Lennarz. “We’re implementing techniques to ease children’s anxieties and discomfort, and the addition of our child-life specialist to the pediatric ED team is invaluable to our patients and their families. These unique services, along with the caliber of our medical staff, places St. Mary’s among the best pediatric emergency departments in Virginia.”

St. Mary’s is the only pediatric emergency department in central Virginia to employ a combination of comfort holds, age-appropriate diversion and J-Tips (painless IV placement). Comfort holds involve positioning a child in a caregiver’s lap during procedures to give the child a sense of control, security and comfort during stressful situations. Age-appropriate diversion includes bubbles, music, video games and iPads, which can help to reduce the child’s pain and discomfort. J-Tips are needle-free, painless pressurized Lidocain used prior to insertion of an IV, which eliminates the pain typically experienced with an IV start.

Bon Secours Virginia Health System, which includes St. Mary’s Hospital, is committed to providing the highest quality emergency care in the nation. St. Mary’s is recognized among the nation’s top five percent of acute-care hospitals for excellence in emergency care by hospital ratings company Healthgrades, and the hospital recently scored 96 out of 100 on the Pediatric Emergency Readiness assessment. Also, the Bon Secours Critical Care Transport program continues to support surrounding community hospitals via ground and air to transfer pediatric patients who need the tertiary pediatric care that St. Mary’s provides.

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