Inside Children's Blog

Using our senses to describe the ideal emergency department

Megs knows just where she is going to place her stickers.

I know I’ve said it before, but we are privileged to have a hospital that cares to ask its employees and parents for input on how to create the best hospital around.

The second town hall meeting consisted of a few parents from the previous meeting as well as new faces and employees. Again, we were asked what we liked and disliked about the hospital and what we would like to see in the future. We described what our senses tell us – how we feel and what we see and hear.

Some parents suggested activities for the families to engage in during the waiting process. I love this concept. My feeling is, “How long can you stare at fish or pictures?” Engagement helps pass the time. Emergency departments aren’t necessarily known as in-and-out experiences. There may be testing to be completed, specialists to be contacted or materials to be gathered. One of the attendees suggested having a video game console or iPad in the rooms.

Activities or internet access in the surgery waiting areas would also be helpful. One of the team members approached Randy and I about placing our belongings in a locker. I love this idea. When you have surgery in the winter or have extra bags it’s hard to gather them up when you need to move around the waiting area, speak to the surgical staff, or leave to get something to eat. If there were lockers it would be one less item you need to be concerned with that day.

Some other concerns were not having cell phone service in the Emergency department and having to repeat your history to each medical professional who enters. It may seem small, but sometimes it feels like a waste of time. Now that the hospital has switched to electronic health records, communication between team members is improving.

We also discussed locating the mental health area in a separate section toward the back of the Emergency department, shorter waiting times, and being placed in a private room sooner. There were attendees who have first-hand experience in the current emergency department, and they had great points. The staff said that not only is there a new building, but there will be a new process for how the department will operate as well.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a child life specialist who works in the current Emergency department. I love the goal of having more child life specialists, and I feel that these professionals are the glue of the team. They are the link to our common language, to show and explain what is happening, create a sense of calm in crisis, and add an extra smile in our time of need.

We are so excited to see where these plans go to create one of the best hospitals in the nation.