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BGH earns pediatric treatment recognition

| May 4, 2024 1:00 AM

Bonner General Health's Emergency Department is the first critical access hospital in Idaho to be recognized as pediatric capable by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

That means the hospital's Emergency Department has pediatric-specific rules, procedures, equipment, people, and resources to address the special needs of children (birth-teen) requiring specialist emergency care. Improvements in pediatric readiness in emergency departments across the country are needed, according to a recent National Pediatric Readiness Project Assessment.

“Bonner General Health is the first CAH Hospital ED to be recognized in Idaho as pediatric ready," said Stacy Connolly, manager of the Idaho Emergency Medical Services for Children Program for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. "We were very impressed with their staff and ED’s ability to care for pediatric patients.”

EMSC launched the Idaho Pediatric Readiness Hospital Recognition Program on Jan. 1, to improve pediatric emergency care in the state.

With approximately 10-12% of patient volumes being children, hospital officials said its ED staff took swift action to address the requirements to meet the designation and ensure quality pediatric care for the community. The department updated policies and added pediatric-specific equipment.

“We needed to have one specific project we were working on to improve pediatric care," Marian Martin, director of emergency services, said. "The BGH ED Pediatric Readiness Group is working on improving care for pediatric DKA patients (Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis). They can be some of the sickest patients we see. We will continue to work on projects where we see a need through quality and performance improvement reviews.” 

The 25-bed critical access hospital completed the pediatric readiness survey with a site visit from EMSC on April 16. After the extensive survey, the findings were reviewed by the EMSC Committee, and the BGH ED was approved and recognized as pediatric capable. 

BGH staff involved in the project include ED Director Marian Martin who serves as the pediatric emergency care coordinator, Dr. Doug Dixon, physician coordinator, ED Supervisor Ryan Kerouac, Lori Garza, R.N., and Cardiopulmonary/ICU Director Jaime Martinez. BGH officials said all played integral roles in completing the requirements to be eligible for the designation.

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses has world-class board certifications to recognize nurses who demonstrate mastery of emergency, pediatric emergency, flight, critical care ground transport, trauma and burn nursing. The Bonner General Health Emergency Department now has five RNs who have earned their certifications. Lori Garza is now a certified pediatric emergency nurse. RNs Henry Magdun, Taryn Born, Stephanie Gettys and Marian Martin have all obtained the certified emergency nurse credentials.

All of the BGH Emergency Department RNs have completed courses and remain up to date in training and certification for neonatal resuscitation, care of newborns at birth, care of sick infants, and pediatric advanced life support and care for pediatric patients who are experiencing life-threatening emergencies. Additionally, all of the BGH ED Physicians are board-certified through the American College of Emergency Physicians and inherently qualified to take care of sick and injured children.

“The collaboration of our team has been invaluable with this project as we have worked together to get the program recognition," Martin said. "I am extremely proud of how many RNs are certified in our small Emergency Department. I feel confident we are capable and prepared to care for the youth in our community.”