Providing emergency care for more than 50,000 children annually, the new, 32,000 square foot Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital expands access to expert emergency services for Louisiana’s children at a critical time, amidst the current surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
NEW ORLEANS –Today, Children’s Hospital New Orleans announced the opening of its expanded Emergency Department, part of the hospital’s $300 million transformation, which features fast track and rapid assessment rooms, as well as dedicated trauma bays and a private behavioral health pod. Children's Hospital has the largest pediatric Emergency Department in Louisiana, caring for more than 50,000 pediatric patients per year. Now growing from 29 to 46 emergency rooms, including six dedicated to specialized behavioral health needs and two dedicated trauma bays, the new ED expands capacity and capabilities to serve even more children and families across the region.
The expanded Children’s Hospital Emergency Department offers a complete range of emergency services to care for children from birth through age 21, and is staffed with pediatric emergency medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, pediatric nurses, and other team members who work together to provide comprehensive patient and family-centered care for a wide variety of illness and injuries. In addition to investments in space, Children’s Hospital has added 10 additional pediatric Emergency Medicine providers to its staff between August 2020 and August 2021.
“Children’s Hospital New Orleans is in an unprecedented period of growth, and this is another example of us coming together to deliver the resources needed for the families in our community,” said John Nickens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Our pediatric Emergency Department is often the front door to resolving a child’s medical issues, and we are proud to be able to meet the increasing needs of our community by expanding access and specialized services.”
The expanded ED has doubled in size from 14,000 square feet to over 32,000 square feet. The department, which once spanned over two floors, is now housed on one floor aiding in better patient flow and overall experience for patients and families. Later this month, the main entrance for patients and families will shift to the hospital’s new main concourse with a dedicated exterior entrance and parking, allowing families to easily access emergency registration. Until the opening of the main concourse, families will continue to enter via the current entrance on Calhoun St.
“During the design phase of our new Emergency Department, we spent a lot of time thinking through the various aspects of the space,” said Jonathan Brouk, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Chief Strategy Officer at Children’s Hospital. “Throughout the emergency department, various design elements such as colorful lighting, illuminated textures, reading nooks and bright colors have been integrated from the welcome desk to the care team stations, exam rooms and registration areas – delivering an environment just for kids and families.”
A Recognized Pediatric Level II Trauma Program by the State of Louisiana, the new ED also includes two dedicated trauma bays specially designed to care for children involved in motor vehicle accidents, violence, abuse, or other serious trauma events, backed by 24/7 coverage of operating room, anesthesia, and pediatric intensive care teams at the hospital.
A special emphasis was placed on children and adolescents who come to the Emergency Department experiencing a mental health crisis. As part of the new behavioral health pod, eight rooms have been added to address the specific needs of children and adolescents in a psychiatric crisis. The rooms are equipped with secure access, specialized furniture and several other additions needed to best care for this delicate population. The Behavioral Health pod was made possible with generous support from the Mark and Kimberly Bartholomew Family Trust and Thoth Charities.
“Children are suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation at alarmingly increasing rates and we have experienced a steady increase of patients presenting to our Emergency Department in crisis,” said Toni Gross, MD, Service Line Chief of Emergency Medicine at Children’s Hospital. “Between October 2020 and March 2021, the Children’s Hospital ED treated over 1,500 patients with a chief complaint or disposition indicating a behavioral health emergency which is an average of 8 patients per day. The addition of the dedicated Behavioral Health pod and supporting staff will help us address these patients’ concerns and get them the help they need more quickly.”
The behavioral health expansion comes at a time when mental health issues for children and adolescents is at an all-time high. According to the CDC, from April to October 2020, hospitals nationally saw a 24% increase in the proportion of mental health emergency visits for kids ages 5-11, and a 31% increase in the 12-17-year-old age group.
The newly expanded Emergency Department is coupled with Children’s 51-bed Behavioral Health Center that opened in early 2020, the only psychiatric program in the Gulf Coast region exclusively dedicated to the mental healthcare needs of children and adolescents in crisis.
In addition to the new, expanded ED on Children’s Hospital’s main campus, the hospital will open its new, Metairie-based Emergency Room this fall, along with its existing pediatric ED located at West Jefferson Medical Center. To learn more about emergency care at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, please visit: https://www.chnola.org/our-services/emergency-care/.
About Children’s Hospital New Orleans
Children’s Hospital New Orleans is a 222-bed, non-profit academic pediatric medical center that offers comprehensive healthcare services, including over 40 pediatric specialties, delivered just for children. With more than 400 physicians trained in more than 40 pediatric sub-specialties, Children’s offers a comprehensive array of pediatric healthcare services in Louisiana and the Gulf South. In addition to its main campus located in New Orleans, the hospital operates a network of specialty clinics across Louisiana and in Southern Mississippi, including in Covington, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette. Children’s Hospital offers primary care services at 15 convenient locations throughout Southeast Louisiana and remotely via its Virtual Care app. Children’s Hospital is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit hospital system which also includes New Orleans East Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center New Orleans and West Jefferson Medical Center. Learn more at chnola.org.