Tower Health’s Reading Hospital in West Reading has unveiled its new Pediatric Emergency Department, which is scheduled to begin operating Feb. 7.
Dr. Charles Barbera, MD, chair of the department of emergency medicine, said there is a trend in the health care industry to develop pediatric-specific emergency departments and several have been springing up in the region.
It give children the best care possible, while making emergency department operations more efficient, Barbera said.
“When we go to medical school we learn that children are not just little adults. Everything is very different. You can’t just prorate for the size of the patient,” he said.
Because children often have different treatment needs, having a separate area for them to be treated with those medical personnel with experience in those areas makes sure the right people, both young and old, are getting the right treatment as efficiently as possible.
The 16-bed pediatric emergency room was built out of existing hospital space. It has a different décor, with what Barbera described as light and airy colors, and has calming features such as a virtual aquarium, interactive screens and games.
It has a separate waiting area from the adult ER and also provides areas for both infectious and non-infectious patients to help prevent the spread of disease.
Policies are also different in the pediatric ER, for example, it calls for using less radiation – such as x-rays – in diagnostics.
Barbera noted that the Reading Hospital ER sees around 30,000 patients a year. In that statistic is a growing number of pediatric patients, which now make up about 20 percent of all ER visits.
Ballinger of Philadelphia was the architect for the project. Perrotto Builders of Reading handled the construction.