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Facilities and equipment in district general hospitals in the Netherlands: Are we prepared for the critically ill paediatric patients?


Objective: To evaluate the inventory for initial treatment of critically ill children.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Paediatric emergency settings in 15 major district general hospitals.

Methods: Using an “expert opinion” created by paediatric intensivists, all hospitals were visited twice to check the inventory. Firstly, to examine the initial site of emergency care for children coming from outside the hospital. Secondly, to visit other emergency sites. A total score below 75% of the optimum was considered as not optimally equipped.

Main results: Equipment to meet “respiratory problems” was considered by the experts as most essential. Seventy five per cent of all emergency sites scored below 75 % (4 of 11 paediatric departments, 1 of 15 emergency rooms. The emergency room was in all aspects significantly better equipped than the paediatric department. Major differences and variations in the inventory were identified between all hospitals.

Conclusions: Emergency rooms are better equipped to meet the needs of critically ill paediatric patients coming from outside the hospital than the paediatric departments. Paediatricians involved in the treatment of children who become critically ill during their stay in the hospital (the “indoor” patients), have less equipment and medication on the paediatric department at their disposal than on their emergency room. Obviously, emergency care on the paediatric wards should be equipped at the same level as in the emergency room because for both locations the “golden hour” is critically important in final outcome.

  • children
  • critically ill
  • emergency room
  • general hospital
  • paediatric department
  • equipment
  • ER, emergency room
  • PD, paediatric department

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