Guest Blog with Dawn Cotter, director of Emergency Services

The Emergency Department at Seattle Children’s provides exceptional care when a seriously ill or injured child needs immediate help. Starting this spring, we’ll also provide an exceptional environment in our new home on the first floor of Building Hope.

We’ve looked forward to this move for a long time. Our staff is an amazing team with a talent for meeting challenges, but our existing ED wasn’t built to accommodate the flood of patients coming through the door. To handle growing volume, we currently care for emergency patients in two separate spaces – an inconvenient and inefficient situation for families and staff alike.

Building Hope’s construction provided a unique opportunity to design an expanded ED from the ground up with input from staff and families. Our entire team is very excited about working in a space tailored to meet patient, family and staff needs – and grateful to the community for helping make the new ED possible.

Over the years, we’ve taken a number of steps to streamline emergency department functions and increase safety based on the hospital’s commitment to continuous process improvement. Building a new ED allows us to introduce a whole new model of care.

Bringing a seriously ill or injured child to the emergency department is stressful. The last thing parents want do is to wait for a caregiver to see their child. That’s the last thing we want, too. Our goal is to provide the right care at the right time by the right person.

The first person families will see when they walk through the door is a registered nurse who will quickly assess their child’s condition. Families will be shown to a room right away in all but the busiest circumstances because we’re increasing our capacity by 50 percent. A roving early initiation team will order tests and provide pain medication as needed if the primary care team is not immediately available to begin diagnosis and treatment.

Most emergency departments are arranged with patient rooms lining long hallways. The new ED layout is more open. Patient rooms will have large glass doors and caregivers will be stationed at central islands, improving visibility, teamwork and communication and reassuring families that help is always near. Alcoves outside each patient room will give families and caregivers space to confer while needed supplies will be stored close at hand to eliminate wasted steps.

Everyone on the ED team feels on top of the world right now. With Building Hope only a few months from completion, we can’t wait to care for children who need us the most in a space so carefully designed to support our work.

Click here to learn more about the new ED.