July 2015 Edition - Health Matters

A welcome cure for growing pains at NCH Pediatric Emergency Department

As the population of Collier County’s children continues to grow so too does the demand for pediatric emergency services. With only seven beds, the current NCH Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) at NCH’s North Naples Hospital treated more than 17,000 children for conditions ranging from fever and broken bones to asthma and congenital heart disease in 2014 alone. These figures are a testament to the critical need for a pediatric emergency room where the sole focus is acute child care, said NCH Pediatric Emergency Medical Director Pia Myers, MD, FACEP, FAAP. In its continued effort to advance the pediatric services available to the children of Collier and south Lee counties, NCH is currently undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion project. This initiative will double the number of beds available for pediatric emergency care from seven to 14, add smart room technology and expand operating hours to 24 hours a day. The expansion, made possible by the generous $6 million gift from donors Robert, Mariann and Megan MacDonald, is expected to be completed by February 2016. One of NCH’s missions is to address the serious healthcare needs of children right here at home helping to reduce emotional and financial burdens for many families by eliminating the need to travel to THE NCH PED STAFF IS EXPERIENCED IN CARING FOR PEDIATRIC HEALTH ISSUES, SOME OF WHICH INCLUDE: ✔ Infectious conditions such as colds, acute gastroenteritis, croup, bronchiolitis, ear infection, pneumonia ✔ Chronic, recurrent illnesses such as asthma, sickle cell disease, seizures, or cardiac disease ✔ Acute traumatic injuries such as head concussion, drowning, toxic ingestion, snake bite, bike injury, heat stroke ✔ Critical illnesses such as appendicitis, severe infection, drug overdose ✔ Basic procedures such as suturing, abscess drainage, cut, splinting, laceration and sprain

Dr. Pia Myers, right and colleague Dr. Maria Caceres measure patient, eight-year old Aniah Buchanan’s height on a giraffe-designed scale

other regional pediatric health facilities for care. Furthermore, there has been an influx of pediatric subspecialists into the community including cardiology, gastro-intestinal, pulmonary, urology, neurology, orthopedics and ICU intensivists. “The sub-specialists’ offices are across the street from the PED making it convenient for parents to access an evaluation,” Myers said. In addition to the improved physical facilities, the vision and direction of the PED and medical staff have contributed to creating a better pediatric care experience. Dr. Myers, a dual board certified physician in emergency and pediatric emergency medicine, and her team are working to add physicians who are also dual board certified to work alongside the nurses who are PED trained. “A child’s mental, physical, and emotional development is different from an adult. When diagnosing pediatric patients there are many unique considerations that must be addressed. You have to have a heart and a special sense of intuitive care and love for children in crisis,” explained Myers. “Patience, understanding and an ability to gain the trust of the parent and child is key. Being observant and flexible when providing care is essential. Some of the needs of our little patients are not covered in the medical text books.” Myers and her staff are here to help treat any medical condition. “Our goal is to make sure that your child gets the appropriate level of care using a team approach in a comfortable, “fear-free” environment to relieve stress and anxiety,” states Myers. “We are at your service to diagnose and treat your children,” she adds.

NCH PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY ENHANCED SERVICES ✔ Accessibility to medical care for all Collier and South Lee County families

✔ Staffed with board certified physicians ✔ Provision of a wide array of sub-specialty medical services ✔ Expertise in conscious and deep sedation for painless procedures ✔ Pediatric advanced life support (PALS) ✔ Comfortable kid-friendly environment that reduces stress, fear and anxiety

FUTURE FEATURES OF THE PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY SERVICES EXPANSION ✔ Expanded hours to 24 hours a day, seven days a week (currently 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.) ✔ A dedicated entrance for the PED ✔ Increase in beds from 7 to 14 ✔ An internal waiting room for initial examinations ✔ Kid-friendly décor with whimsical colors along with animal and forest themes ✔ Smart room technology in patient rooms, internet access, movies and changing room lighting feature

For more information about the NCH Pediatric Emergency Services, call (239) 552-7790.

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