Critical Care at Crucial Times: Pediatric Care

maple grove hospital logo
September 9, 2019
two boys with doctor on picnic table


When the worst happens, you don’t want to have to second-guess where to go or drive a distance that prolongs your child’s care. That was the case for the Anderson family, whose son, Michael, fell out of a window at age 3. The Anderson family lives in Elk River, and because Michael was born at Maple Grove Hospital and they have had positive experiences with the North Memorial Health system, Maple Grove Hospital is where they knew they needed to bring him.

Michael was stabilized in the Maple Grove Hospital Emergency Care Center (ECC), but due to the severity of his injury — he had fractured his skull and needed surgery — he was transferred by ambulance to North Memorial Health Hospital, which is a Level I Adult Trauma Center that takes care of children. The Maple Grove Hospital emergency room doctors rotate between the two hospitals, have a relationship with the trauma doctors and work closely with the Emergency Medical Services team, which creates a level of communication and trust that makes transfers like this seamless.

When Michael arrived at North Memorial Health Hospital, there were multiple people waiting for him at the doors, all of whom knew exactly what was going on and could help care for him immediately. Michael’s mother, Jenny, said that coming to Maple Grove Hospital first was absolutely the right decision for them. She felt they were instantly cared for, from the security guard who led them where they needed to go while asking if there was anything he could get for them, to the ambulance driver who talked them through everything on their ride to North Memorial Health Hospital. And, Jenny was grateful the staff enabled her to stay calm in a stressful situation by keeping her informed but not overwhelmed with questions.

“You always want to get your child to the nearest place, especially in the case of trauma” says Jeff Miller, manager of the Maple Grove Hospital Emergency Care Center. “And you can always bring them here; we’re equipped to take care of any pediatric customer.” Plus, as part of the North Memorial Health system, Maple Grove Hospital is integrated with North Memorial Health Hospital and has readily available air and ground transportation, ensuring that if a customer needs to be transferred, it can be done quickly and safely.

Maple Grove Hospital cares for customers of all ages, including pediatrics. In the Emergency Care Center alone, nearly 25 percent of all customers are pediatric customers. And, Maple Grove Hospital takes specific measures to ensure those customers receive the best age-appropriate care possible. All physicians and nurses complete pediatric-specific training, while the staff is trained in pediatric-friendly approaches, such as language and comfort holds. There are also pediatric hospitalists — onsite seven days a week and available 24 hours a day — who are educated in pediatrics and assist with the treatment of those customers.

The hospital also has child life specialists, who use toys, activities or other methods to help keep the child’s mind off what’s going on. “We find that having a child life specialist onsite helps not only take away stress from the child, but also from the rest of the family,” says Miller.

“Parents know that someone is focused on their child’s emotional needs while the provider is focusing on their physical needs. Plus, the information and support the specialist provides helps parents and siblings cope with the situation.” Maple Grove Hospital houses other features to help pediatric customers feel comfortable there, including kid-friendly movies, in-room age and developmentally appropriate toys, as well as items for infants such as play mats and mobiles.

Michael has since fully recovered from his injuries, but unfortunately situations like his happen all too often. And, like Jenny, parents are grateful to have a place they know they can feel comfortable bringing their child. “I just received a card from another family whose two kids, both of whom have complex medical issues, were recently seen in the ECC,” says Miller. “They were really thankful, saying that if a medical emergency came up, they knew they could come here and know their kids would be taken care of.”

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