In September, Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) added pediatric telemedicine to its Pediatric Emergency Department with a Phase II plan to add additional services in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a later date. Telemedicine technology enables NCH physicians to teleconference with specialists from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Pediatric specialists work with the NCH care team to help diagnose and treat patients. NCH is the first hospital in the Chicagoland area to utilize telemedicine technology with Lurie Children’s Hospital in its Pediatric Emergency Department.
“Telemedicine is a rapidly growing service that allows community hospitals to access a wide range of clinical specialists while allowing families to remain in their communities,” said NCH Director of Women’s and Children’s Services Don Houchins, R.N. “This innovative partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital brings a new level of specialty care to those served by NCH.”
How it works
- The goal of telemedicine is to reduce hospital-to-hospital transfers. Patients heal better when allowed to remain in their community surrounded by loved ones
- A direct dial connection happens right from the telemedicine cart. Calls go through within 10 seconds and face-to-face consultation with a Lurie Children’s specialist occurs within 15 minutes
- Radiology images can be transmitted and quickly reviewed
- Patients receive “more eyes” on them, with care expedited by Lurie Children’s pediatric specialists and neonatologists as well as NCH doctors and specialists
- Subspecialty access care is available 24/7
New sensory rooms reduce stress
September also marked the addition of two new sensory rooms in the Emergency Department. The sensory rooms are specifically designed for patients who are developmentally disabled. The goal is to improve the patient experience for anyone who may be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and busy activities of an emergency department.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony held September 19 celebrated the donors who helped transform two examination rooms into a tranquil environment with specific equipment to calm patients while waiting to see a physician. Three donors made the rooms possible: Chris and Susan Dungan of Arlington Heights; The Rotary Club of Arlington Heights; and Marcy Burhop of Arlington Heights.
“We want people to come into the best surroundings and to get the kind of care that they deserve,” Steve Scogna, NCH President and CEO, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to improve care for our community.”
- Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Learning or sensory impaired individuals
- Down syndrome patients
- Patients with brain trauma or behavior issues
- Those with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia
As many as one in six children (about 15 percent) ages three through seven have one or more developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning or sensory (e.g., vision, hearing) impairment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What’s in the rooms
- Wall murals
- Comfortable chairs
- Weighted blankets
- Crash mats
- Exercise balls
- Fidget balls
An advanced practice nurse with experience working with developmentally disabled individuals will be on call to manage the patients and advise staff about their unique patient care needs.