Monday, 28 October 2013 09:35

CASE STUDY: A Colorful Response for Pediatric Emergencies

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CASE STUDY: A Colorful Response for Pediatric Emergencies

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A small child hastily gasps for air and passes out in the hospital. Doctors and nurses rush to the child's side carrying color-coded emergency equipment that matches the colored wristband on the child. Proper resuscitation medication and equipment are immediately administered and the child is safely brought back to a stable state.
The above scenario takes place in a hospital that uses a color-coded pediatric resuscitation system. In other facilities, valuable time can be lost while determining proper medication doses and equipment sizes in a pediatric code blue. It is crucial that the right amount of medication is administered according to the weight and size of the child. This process takes time, and when done in a moment of panic a greater chance of error is probable.

Improved Patient Safety

Accurate identification is crucial when it comes to pediatric resuscitation. La Porte Hospital and Health Services (La Porte, Indiana) uses Precision Dynamics Corporation's (PDC) colored Sentry® SuperBand® Wristbands to quickly identify the weight category of a patient in order to administer accurate medication doses in a timely manner.
La Porte's color-coded Pediatric Code Readiness system was implemented in the Medical/Surgical/Orthopedic/Pediatric and Joint Camp units. "We see this as another step in assuring safety for our pediatric population," comments Linda Satkoski, Chief Nursing Officer at La Porte. "It provides consistency of care in an emergency situation."
Bruce Garwood, Registered Nurse, was instrumental in the implementation of the pediatric resuscitation system. "We took a proactive approach to what we considered a possible problem," comments Garwood. "We noticed a delay at times with decisions about drug dosages and equipment during some pediatric codes at other facilities. Any delay, no matter how slight, can be life threatening especially when it comes to this age population."

The System

PDC wristbands are used in conjunction with Broselow® Pediatric Emergency Tape measure. The emergency tape is a color-coded information and reference guide that informs doctors and nurses of the proper equipment sizes needed to perform resuscitation on a child. Also, a reference at each weight zone on the tape shows pre-calculated medication dosages and infusion rates.
"The new system helps prepare staff who treat pediatric patients for that greatly feared 'what if' situation," comments Pat Larson, Chairperson for the Code Blue Committee at La Porte. "Every nurse fears making a serious error that could hurt the patient and that fear is amplified when dealing with children. This new system helps alleviate that fear."
At admission, every pediatric patient is weighed and assigned a color category from the system. The weight is charted and an information sheet and a master calculation sheet with medication dosages are placed in the patient's chart. The corresponding wristband is applied to the patient and changed accordingly with his/her weight changes.
"If a patient was to go into respiratory or cardiac arrest, the colored wristband would quickly identify the appropriate treatment pouch needed and we would be ready to treat the patient without wasting time" said Garwood. "The enhanced pediatric resuscitation system gives patients the best possible chance of recovery."
Sentry Wristbands provide a quick reference for accurate medication administration and proper equipment usage. "Having wristbands correlate to the appropriate drug dosages and equipment sizes makes it much easier for our nursing staff to remain calm and stay focused" said Larson.

Every Detail Matters

Implementing a system like La Porte's can help save lives. Every detail matters during pediatric resuscitation--right down to the wristband.
"The advantage of using this process is our preparedness--being as prepared as possible for a Pediatric Code situation," comments Garwood. "The system was implemented as a preventative measure and we will continue to evaluate and improve upon it."
"During emergencies, high anxiety can lead to serious errors during initial medication administration. The Pediatric Code Readiness system alleviates this anxiety and improves patient safety," adds Larson. "I am very proud of the staff members at La Porte Hospital who have been so innovative in developing a new patient safety system for our littlest customers."
After much success with the system, nurses at La Porte strongly felt that all pediatric patients be identified using the new process. Consequently, the system was established in the Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit, Cardiovascular Lab, Neuro-Sleep Lab, and Diagnostic Imaging in an effort to be fully prepared during pediatric emergencies.

La Porte Hospital

La Porte Hospital and Health Services, a 227 private room, not-for-profit healthcare facility, serves La Porte County and surrounding communities in northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. Over 179 physicians and dentists specializing in 35 areas of medicine, a staff of over 1,475, and over 330 volunteers work at La Porte Hospital. Visit for more information.
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