Triple Threat: Risks to pediatric emergency care amid rising respiratory cases

Visual Representation for pediatric emergency | Credits: Google Images
Visual Representation for pediatric emergency | Credits: Google Images

United States: The emergency care for children across the United States might be negatively impacted by rapidly increasing cases of respiratory illness, according to the new study conducted by the experts at Michigan Medicine.

The study revealed that all emergency departments must be prepared to battle against any other emergency department due to the “tripledemic” caused by increasing cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and COVID-19.

What procedure was followed to conduct the study?

According to the reports, the study was concluded on the basis of the ED visits in the years 2021 and 2022. Accordingly, more than 2.7 million infected people visited Eds within the Michigan Emergency Department Improvement Collaborative – all of whom were examined by the author, and the findings were published as JAMA Network Open, according to Medical Express.

What did the study analyze?

The experts have underlined that, according to the study, the visits to pediatric viral and respiratory emergency dramatically increased during the tripledemic between the months of September and December 2022. The examination unveiled that the cases went up to 72 percent – within these four months. The value was 16 percent higher than the number of cases during the same period last year.

States with children’s hospitals were hardest hit!

Another shocking revelation of the study was the fact that the states with the highest number of children in specialised hospitals were hardest hit. It is to be noted that amid the surge, over 8 percent of visits to children’s hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) witnessed wait times exceeding four hours. Additionally, the total treatment times in the ED, also known as length of stay, exceeded 12 hours for 9 percent of visits. Furthermore, a notable percentage of children had a return visit within 72 hours of being discharged from the ED.

Visual Representation for an infected kid | Credits: Getty Images

What experts have to comment?

MD and clinical instructor in the Michigan Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine and national clinician scholar at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation – Alexander Janke, according to the Medical Express, said, “Pediatric readiness, an effort to ensure that all emergency departments have the appropriate resources, equipment, training, and policies, to provide high-quality emergency care to children, is essential to all hospitals and health systems.”

He further added, “When viral illnesses surge across the state like we had last winter, the impact varies across different EDs and hospitals,” and went on to explain, “The large children’s hospitals are the most crowded, but even small rural hospitals can have dangerous backing up of pediatric care at the peak of a surge.”

In addition to this, Janke’s co-author and MS, MD – Michelle Macy, stressed the significance of robust collaborative connections among Emergency Departments (EDs) to guarantee appropriate care for children during the waiting period for transfer to a pediatric ED or inpatient bed.

She was quoted saying, “Children’s hospitals are in a position to lead on the coordination of pediatric care between EDs and hospital systems,” as per Medical Express.

“Preparing in advance of pediatric surge events is crucial to optimize care for acutely ill and injured children, especially given the closure of pediatric inpatient beds in community hospitals and rural hospitals throughout the United States,” Macy added.

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