Nobody looks forward to visiting the Emergency Department, but when the need arises, families deserve a safe, timely and welcoming experience. Seattle Children’s will raise the bar this spring when our ED moves into the first floor of Building Hope.

The new ED increases capacity, expands the size of patient rooms and arranges the rooms around central work stations that improve staff visibility, teamwork and communication. But the physical changes are just the beginning. After years of planning and with input from families and staff, we’re improving the way patients and families flow through the ED and how caregivers respond to their needs.

Our new model of care is based on providing medical attention as soon as families arrive and moving evaluation, workup and treatment forward as efficiently as possible throughout their time in the ED. Here are four key steps we’re taking to streamline the process and provide safe and seamless care:

  • A registered nurse will greet families when they arrive instead of a registration specialist. The nurse will quickly assess the patient’s condition before a medication intake coordinator (MIC) – the person who collects the patient’s medication history – shows them to a room. Involving the MIC at the start of the process reduces potential delays in beginning treatment. Full registration will take place in the room after the primary care team sees the patient – eliminating another potential delay.
  • It’s frustrating for patients and families to explain their situation to each person involved in their care one person at a time. Time is lost and communication can break down. A new process dubbed The Dance will bring the entire primary care team – typically a resident physician or nurse practitioner and primary nurse into the room at the same time. The Dance will ensure everyone is on the same page and enable care to move forward without delay based on a coordinated plan.
  • If a primary care team is not immediately available to see a patient, an early initiation team consisting of a senior level resident or nurse practitioner and a nurse will work with patients for the first 15 minutes or so of their visit. Based on a uniform set of clinical standards, they will decide whether to initiate tests or provide pain or other immediate medication needs before handing off to the primary care team. Parents shared with us that it was more important to initiate care early than wait for a team that would care for them their entire visit.
  • The new ED will allow for “teams” of care providers to communicate more effectively with each other and with our patients and families. Nurses will be assigned to support specific rooms. The zones – along with an electronic tracking board – will help everyone in the ED better understand which staff members may need extra support and which are available to assist others.


Questions?  Please call:

Information: 206-987-6197

24-Hour Emergency Hotline:
Sellen Construction
Tim McKey
Project Superintendent