What began as a pleasant lunch ended up in a trip to the new Richmond Hospital Short Stay Pediatric Unit for one Burnaby mom when her 18-month-old toddler, Joy Cheng, choked on a bite of lunch at a restaurant in Aberdeen Centre.
“It was all so scary. The food was stuck, and the waitress called 911,” said Minchi Lee, Joy’s mom, recalling the incident which brought the family to Richmond Hospital via ambulance. Once cleared after an examination in the ED, Joy was transferred to the new Short Stay Pediatric Unit, the SSP.
That was back on June 16. It was the SSP’s first day of operation, and Joy was the unit’s first pediatric in-patient.
“Everyone was so friendly and helpful,” said Lee of her recent visit to the SSP. “The care was good and everything was so new…It all made us feel much better.”
In the weeks since Joy arrived in the SSP, the five-bed unit has treated 93 children from Richmond and beyond.
Its existence as a separate, specialized space within Richmond Hospital means children and youth up to 17 years of age can receive care in a dedicated pediatric unit in their own community.
“This new unit was specially designed with children and families in mind so we could provide a quiet space that reduces anxiety while also meeting the medical and surgical needs of our youngest residents, right here at home,” said Dr. Erik Swartz, department head, Pediatrics, Richmond Hospital.
The five single-occupancy rooms are fitted with medical equipment designed for smaller-sized patients, such as cardiac monitors specially calibrated for a child’s heart rate, temperature and oxygen level norms. The SSP also has a dedicated automated pharmacy system that dispenses children’s medication doses.
The SSP will provide care to children with a wide range of illness and injury from anywhere between 24 hours up to a week. This area may also be used as a flex space for pediatric patients coming through the Emergency Department.
The unit is staffed by specially trained pediatric nurses, pediatricians and surgeons. A new partnership between Richmond Hospital and BCIT will provide staff with the opportunity to enhance their expertise through a new specialized pediatric emergency nursing certificate program.
The SSP is the first site to pilot a provincial initiative with Child Health BC called Pediatric Early Warning Systems (PEWS). This is an international, evidence-based system that supports early recognition and intervention to prevent pediatric deterioration. This is done through standardized assessments, communication and identification of possible risk factors.
Richmond Hospital Foundation contributed $200,000 in donor funding to help purchase equipment for the unit. Donations from the SSP were part of the overall funds raised at the Foundation’s Starlight Gala in October 2014.
The Richmond Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary provided another $25,000, while the remaining project costs were covered by VCH Richmond.
For more information contact: Jennifer Hunter
, program manager, Department of Pediatrics and Emergency Services, VCH Richmond