SPOKANE, Wash. - Through the doors of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center's emergency department, is a unique area designed to help children. For about six years, it has supported local families during their scariest days.
Elizabeth Arnold has taken both her kids to that pediatric emergency room.
"My son and I made a trip here to the pediatric emergency room about a year and a half ago. He had been sick for about three days," Arnold said.
Her family was new to the area, so she was excited to see the contrast between a regular emergency department and one designed for kids.
"It was a very different experience than what I thought it would be bringing a child down to the emergency room," Arnold said.
The first difference was a separate waiting room from the other emergency department. It was full of toys, screens for movies, colorful decorations and a fish tank.
Certified child life specialist Amanda Reed said all of those amenities help sick children and their families.
“We provide extra comfort initially. Maybe that's toys. Maybe that's some distraction, getting a movie going. Then we provide education prior to any of the procedures that might be happening,” Reed said. “Even the small things can make a big difference in how somebody remembers their time here.”
Doctors in the department specialize in pediatric medicine, too. That really impressed Arnold.
“Having doctors and pediatricians available to children immediately or folks that can actually take care of kids and know what they're looking at is really important,” Arnold said.
Dr. Stacy Tarango explained that treating children and adults can be much different. Whether it's the diagnosis or how they're attended to, they need different things.
“We have lots of toys and movies that are all centered around children,” Dr. Tarango said. “An adult emergency room can be a frightening place. Even having a spare waiting area for kids makes it a much better experience for them and decreases the trauma of what's already going to be a scary day.”
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