PROVIDENCE — A new Pediatric Clinical Decision Unit at Hasbro Children’s Hospital is offering short-stay care to kids who need more time to get well than an emergency room visit can afford, but less time than a hospital stay.
Aimed at children who need care for roughly 12 to 24 hours, the new unit treats illnesses like asthma, gastroenteritis, dehydration, cellulitis, falls, pain, seizures, headaches and allergic reactions.
“The families have loved it,” said Dr. Laura Chapman, director of the Clinical Decision Unit.
Chapman said Hasbro sees a lot of children from Greater Fall River, partially due to its local specialty clinic in the city, along with its expert care, and the fact that it is the closest trauma center to Greater Fall River.
“We have a close relationship with doctors in Fall River,” Chapman said.
In 2016, some 640 children from southeastern Massachusetts were treated and discharged from Hasbro Children’s Hospital, according to Hasbro spokesman David G. Levesque.
Numbers were not yet available for the new short-stay unit that opened in November.
The six-bed unit cuts down on the hours spent by kids and their families in the emergency department, and also frees up space to improve turnaround time for other ED patients.
It’s for kids who “we think we can make them better without admitting,” said Dr. Susan Duffy, director of Special Pediatric Projects Department of Emergency Medicine.
Kids might simply need antibiotics or intravenous fluids to feel better and be able to return home.
“Kids are generally healthy,” Duffy said.
The idea to open the Pediatric Clinical Decision Unit evolved over several years.
Pediatric emergency department use and overcrowding has steadily increased across the country, according to a Hasbro press release. Because their young patients are in good health overall, the new unit makes sense. Only about 15 percent of kids visiting an emergency room need to be admitted to the hospital.
“In general, many pediatric patients who require hospitalization for acute medical conditions recover quickly and are discharged within 24 hours,” said Lynn Pittsinger, registered nurse and director of Pediatric Emergency Services at Hasbro. “There are thousands of patients each year spending hours upon hours in the emergency department, or going through the lengthy process of inpatient hospitalization followed by same-day discharge.”
In the new unit, patients are assessed and reassessed during their stay. They have shown low rates of return visits and readmissions.
The Pediatric Clinical Decision Unit is located next to the Emergency Department. Part of the renovation includes a family room with comfortable seating and Wi-Fi access in a peaceful environment.
Hasbro Children’s Hospital is located at 593 Eddy St., Providence. The local specialty practice is at 10 N. Main St., Fall River. Clinical specialties in Fall River include cardiology, endocrinology, gastrointestinal medicine, nephrology and pulmonology.
To learn more, visit www.hasbrochildrenshospital.org.