Ronald McDonald House Charities awards $20,000 to Pediatric Pod

Video games provide needed distraction for kids in Emergency Department

A grant of $20,000 from the Ronald McDonald House Charities has allowed us to purchase 4 Kidzpace entertainment units to brighten the Emergency Department experience for ill or injured children. The Kidzpace units hold video games and other activities to take a child’s mind off their illness or pain and provide a distraction while waiting for x-rays or other test results.

In 2006, St. Mary Medical Center opened the new “Pediatric Pod” section of the Emergency Department as part of the hospital’s ongoing efforts to improve the services it provides to the community. The Pediatric Pod, which provides state-of the-art diagnostic and clinical support, is designed to serve the needs of children under the age of twelve. Since this facility is part of the Trauma Unit, the children were frequently alongside more clinically severe patients and the environment is not conducive for the best holistic care of children. With support from the Ronald McDonald House Charities through a grant in 2004, we were able to provide a more comforting environment for our youngest patients. Now children wait in a newly created pediatric waiting room that is decorated appropriately and includes games and toys. This prevents children from exposure to the adult emergency room population, which can frighten children due to the graphic nature of many injuries seen in the emergency room. The Pediatric Pod is the first and only dedicated Pediatric Emergency Care Center in Bucks County.

In April 2008 St. Mary expanded the Pediatric Pod to 24-hour, seven-days-a-week coverage, based on community demand. Previously, pediatric coverage in the Emergency Department was available for eight hours a day on weekdays and 12 hours each weekend day as a convenience during hours that most pediatrician offices were likely to be closed. Dr. Julio Vializ, who previously was on staff at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, leads a dedicated team of pediatric and emergency physicians providing the 24-hour coverage. The number of children cared for in the Pediatric Pod more than doubled from 5,776 in 2006 to 11,638 in 2008.