SMC Pediatrics Expansion
Summerville Medical Center to boost emergency care, other services for kids
With the start of 2013, Summerville Medical Center (SMC) moves forward with pivotal upgrades to the places children receive care within the hospital. By mid-summer, a 4,000-square-foot addition to the Emergency Department, and a 3,500-square-foot unit on the second-floor, both dedicated to pediatrics, will be ready for children up to 17 years old.
Rooms will have child-friendly artwork, colors and lighting as well as features like TVs and gaming systems to make it easier for young patients to pass the time. Likewise, equipment will be right-sized, and supplies will be age appropriate.
At the same time, the hospital is devoting more resources to training and staffing for pediatric services. That includes having a pediatrician immediately available at the hospital (a pediatric hospitalist) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We have given much consideration to how we care for kids in this community,” says the hospital’s CEO Lou Caputo. “We recognize that you care for kids differently than you care for adults.”
The investment makes good sense, given the striking increase of families in the greater community and the preference they already show in choosing SMC. Children receive treatment at the Summerville hospital around 20,000 times a year, with half of those visits taking place in the Emergency Department.
The planned Emergency Department addition includes extra entrance bays, allowing children to be kept separate from adult patients from the time they arrive. “When kids come into the Emergency Department, they are going to take a different track than the adults,” Caputo says.
The new inpatient pediatric unit also will be set off from rooms for adult patients and will be grouped on the second floor with women’s services and the nursery. It will include a communal play area, where children can spend time with family members or child life specialists, and a procedure room for distressing situations such as shots and IV placement. That way, the child’s room remains a “safe haven” for healing.
Planned changes came out of a steering committee that involved emergency medicine and pediatric specialists as well as many others. Committee members also traveled to community hospitals in other parts of the country to study successful pediatric service lines. “Our community deserves great care for children, here close to home,” Caputo says.
“Our community deserves great care for children, here close to home.” –Summerville Medical Center CEO, Lou Caputo