Association urges pediatric patient consolidation to ease COVID-19 burden

March 30, 2020

As hospital beds fill with patients battling COVID-19, the Children’s Hospital Association has issued guidance for consolidating pediatric patients in children ‘s hospitals to ease the burden.

COVID-19 news has many stories about hospitals’ running low on supplies and space for patients becoming an issue as well as health care providers working around the clock to provide care. The Children’s Hospital Association has just released guidance for consolidating pediatric care to children’s hospitals to ensure that the maximum number of beds are available to treat adults with COVID-19.1

The guidance was created in consultation with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of American Medical Colleges. It has been submitted as part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Initiative. The guidance has 5 parts.

·      Coordination and operating guidelines should be put into place in both pediatric and adult hospital systems to facilitate the transfer of pediatric inpatients. Guidelines should also cover how new nonelective pediatric admissions and emergency visits are connected to children’s hospitals. The guidelines should take into consideration how states and insurance plans might affect a patient’s ability to be cared for in a children’s hospital.

·      Necessary supplies should be allocated to cover the increased patient capacity in children’s hospitals, especially testing supplies and personal protective equipment.

·      Criteria for where patients will be admitted should use local conditions for determination. The criteria should include age of patient, health status, level of care required, and clinical diagnosis/condition.

·      Necessary regulatory waivers should be granted to create new pediatric bed, staffing, and supply capacity for the anticipated increased volume.

·      Have children requiring acute care hospitalization for a nonelective purpose consolidated into the children’s hospital to open up beds in adult hospitals. This should also include pediatric emergency departments.

The guidance also states that the capabilities of both local children’s hospitals and adult hospitals need to be considered. Additionally, the safety of patients, families, and health care providers should be paramount to any decision.

References:

1. Children’s Hospital Association. Consolidating pediatric hospital care to increase capacity for adults with COVID-19. Published March 24, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2020. https://www.childrenshospitals.org/-/media/Files/CHA/Main/Quality_and_Performance/covid19/covid_032320_cha_pediatric_consolidation_guidance.pdf