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In 1998, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) initiated a Pediatric Facility Recognition program to formally recognize hospitals for their Emergency Department pediatric preparedness. This program requires hospitals to comply with defined pediatric standards and undergo a site visit every four years.
In 2004, IDPH/EMSC added a new component to the Pediatric Facility Recognition program to review hospital disaster plans for pediatric components. Initially, this pediatric disaster component was educational and provided an opportunity during the site survey process to identify any areas of need and offer recommendations on incorporating children into hospital disaster plans. In 2011, pediatric components in hospital disaster plans became a requirement of the Facility Recognition program. These hospital disaster plan reviews, which have been conducted throughout the state, have been highly assistive in identifying a number of common areas of need that include:
Decontamination process for infants/small children
Pediatric surge capacity
Identification process for unaccompanied children
Development of a designated holding area for children pending discharge/reunification
Reunification process for children with their parents/designated caretakers
Addressing the needs of Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN)
Including children of all ages and CSHCN into drills/exercises
Pediatric Facility Recognition is an initial step in being better prepared for disaster, terrorist and multi-casualty events that involve children.
Hospital Pediatric Preparedness Checklist
As hospitals develop and update their disaster plans, there are several key areas that can help to ensure they are better prepared to handle the unique needs of pediatric patients. A checklist was designed to help hospitals identify their current level of pediatric preparedness and what additional areas they need to address. This checklist is also used during Facility Recognition Site Surveys to help Illinois EMSC understand the level of pediatric preparedness within hospitals and the types of technical assistance hospitals may need. Click here to access the current Hospital Pediatric Preparedness Checklist.