Vancouver, BC – A new five-bed Short Stay Pediatric Unit (SSPU) at Richmond Hospital now 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 means that children who don’t need to be transferred to Children’s Hospital will be able to remain close to home and comforted by their family,” says Linda Reid, Richmond East MLA.
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 SSPU also has a dedicated automated pharmacy system that dispenses children’s medication doses. The unit provides care to children with a wide range of illness and injury, and length of stay can vary from 24 hours up to a week. The area also acts 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 pediatric emergency nursing certificate program. Richmond is also the first site to pilot a provincial initiative in partnership with Child Health BC called Pediatric Early Warning Systems. This is an international, evidence-based system that supports early recognition and intervention to prevent pediatric deterioration.
In 2013, more than 6,500 children received emergency care at Richmond Hospital and more than 200 children received surgical care. Although many of these children were able to go home after a few hours, some required an additional stay at the hospital to recover or to be closely monitored by a pediatrician.
“A hospital is never a fun place to be, especially for children,” says Dr. Erik Swartz, head of pediatrics at Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care. “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.”
Richmond Hospital Foundation contributed $200,000 in donor funding to help purchase equipment for the unit. Donations for the SSPU were part of the overall funds raised at the Foundation’s Starlight Gala event in October 2014, which has raised more than $3.7 million to improve patient care and health care services at the hospital over the past 16 years. The Richmond Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary provided $25,000, while the remaining project costs were covered by VCH.
“We wish to thank all of our donors who helped to fund the specialized pediatric equipment to provide care for children and their families, creating a welcoming and family-friendly environment,” says Natalie Meixner, president and CEO of Richmond Hospital Foundation. “Donors are essential to help fund new facilities and state-of-the-art medical equipment to help provide the expert care we rely on close to home.”
“I thank the Richmond Hospital Foundation, the Richmond Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary and all those donors who contributed to this important project which will provide care for the youngest of patients,” says Teresa Wat, Richmond Centre MLA.
Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap adds, “Today’s announcement is great news for local families and I want to thank all of our health professionals who provide the high-quality care to those in need, which will continue in this new pediatric unit.”
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Public Affairs Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health