While all hospitals focus on the well-being of patients, treating traumatic injury, and acute and chronic disease, children’s hospitals differ from regular hospitals in several ways. Children have different physiology and needs than adults and require tailored treatments. The following are some areas that are unique to pediatric hospitals.
Treating Different Physiology
Children have very different physiology than adults that requires specialized treatment, especially in the case of a traumatic injury. For example, a child’s vascular and heart system is different than an adult’s with different criteria for normal vital signs. Injury patterns in children are different. Every stage of a child’s development may need different expertise and equipment for safe care.
Family-Centered Care Approach
While an adult hospital typically has patient-centered care, a pediatric hospital requires a family-centered approach to support the physical, psychological, and emotional health of the child and his family members. Parents and other family members will play a major role in treatment and hospital staff must be able to accommodate their needs.
Children tend to be much healthier than adults, but younger children are at risk of diseases and health conditions that may be uncommon in adults. Pediatric specialists like neonatologists, pediatric endocrinologists, and pediatric surgeons are not abundant. Most have received training in children’s hospitals. A children’s hospital provides the specialized care necessary to treat complex medical conditions that can affect children like autoimmune disease, cancer, and congenital disease.
Child-Friendly Environment and Care
Adult hospitals are known for being sterile and often colorless environments. A children’s hospital is designed as a warm and inviting space to help children feel more comfortable during their stay. Research has shown that pediatric design is important to create a comfortable environment that helps promote healing. Pediatric hospitals typically have reduced lighting and noise as well as positive distraction, such as common play areas, large windows, and bright graphics or themes.
This child-friendly environment also extends to the type of care provided. While every medical provider must navigate the personalities and emotional needs of their patients, this is especially true when caring for children who have more complex needs. Pediatric medical providers offer the empathy, patience, and support children and parents need during a hospital stay.