Every day, parents do countless things to help keep their children healthy, happy and safe – from teaching them to wash their hands and develop healthy eating habits to talking with older children about the dangers of smoking, drinking and driving too fast.
Guiding children on the right path to a healthy lifestyle also includes using a children’s hospital for their health care needs.
Best known for providing emergency care and serving children with severe and complex conditions, children’s hospitals help all children through a wide variety of specialized pediatric programs and services, research and advocacy efforts. A child-friendly environment and staff ensure children’s unique health care needs are met and parents are involved every step of the way.
Experienced in Pediatric Medicine
A pediatric hospital such as Akron Children’s Hospital offers a breadth and depth of services that are not available at a general hospital.
Take surgery, for example. Every year, Akron Children’s Hospital's surgical services department performs more than 10,000 general and specialized surgical procedures ranging from uncomplicated tonsillectomies to neurosurgery, open heart, orthopedic and plastic and reconstructive surgery. Research shows that when a hospital performs a high number of a particular type of procedure, patients experience better outcomes.
Akron Children’s Hospital also has pediatric specialists in critical care medicine, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, genetics, allergy & immunology, gynecology, cardiology, infectious diseases, neonatology, nephrology (kidney), developmental pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, pulmonary medicine, radiology, emergency medicine, sports medicine and urology.
Family-Friendly, Child-Focused Patient Care
Children are individuals of all sizes, shapes and personalities, whose needs differ greatly from adults. Children’s hospitals focus 100 percent of their resources on meeting those needs, including providing caregivers with the skills, compassion and experience children require.
For instance, hospitalized children require more time spent with staff and family members. According to the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), children under 2 years old require nearly 40 percent more nursing care than adults to meet their medical and psychological needs as well as their daily living needs.
Overnight Accommodations for Parents
Akron Children’s Hospital also provides special accommodations for family members, including private patient rooms to allow one parent to stay overnight, parent showers, larger waiting areas and age-appropriate playrooms. At a hospital like Akron Children’s, you’ll almost never see plain white or gray walls. Rather, you’ll notice a colorful, warm décor that incorporates childhood characters and themes, aquariums in the waiting rooms, and beautiful, child-friendly artwork.
This has all been found to benefit recovery greatly.
When it comes to medication and equipment, children are not small adults. Akron Children's Hospital's pharmacy is stocked with specialized medications that are provided in dosages based on the age and size of the patient. And equipment is sized to treat patients from the tiniest premature baby to a full-grown high school senior.
Improving Patient Care through Pediatric Research
Children’s hospitals are at the forefront of health research to improve children’s health and health care. This has led to landmark discoveries from shrinking tumors to treating cancer to preventing childhood diseases to giving all children a healthy start in life – emotionally and physically.
At Akron Children’s Hospital, researchers made a major breakthrough in burn care when they were the first to grow skin cells for grafting, a surgical procedure in which a patch of skin is used to cover a wound. This is particularly significant when surgeons are unable to use skin from another part of the body.
Akron Children’s Hospital's doctors continue to contribute to the treatment of a variety of childhood illnesses through participation in national studies for cancer treatment, burn care, cystic fibrosis and other conditions.
Teaching Skills and a Family-Centered Philosophy
Akron Children’s Hospital helps train future members of the pediatric healthcare workforce, including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, radiology technicians, social workers and others who dedicate themselves to helping children. Teaching hospitals also provide the most up-to-date treatment methods and equipment.
According to NACHRI, freestanding children’s hospitals, like Akron Children’s Hospital, train 30 percent of all pediatricians and 50 percent of pediatric specialists. Also, more than 80 percent of children’s hospitals provide education for nurses and at least half of all programs in undergraduate respiratory therapy, child life and graduate social work. Not only are these professionals learning the skills they need to provide quality pediatric care, they are working in an environment where the family is an integral part of that care.
Caring for Children in the Hospital and in the Community
Children’s hospitals strive to improve the health of all children through injury prevention and preventive care programs, immunization coalitions, and involvement in state and federal legislation on behalf of all children.
Compared to other segments of the population, children are more likely to live in poverty, with little or no health insurance. Children’s hospitals are vital because they care for and protect this vulnerable population. They are dedicated to ensuring that every child has access to high quality, cost effective, primary, preventive and specialty care services tailored to fit their needs. Regular access to preventive and wellness care, as well as specialty care, makes an enormous difference in children’s health and in their lives.
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