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Lutheran Children’s Hospital Sets Stage for Construction of Separate ER Devoted Exclusively to Pediatric Emergency Care

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (April, 9, 2013) – In keeping with its belief that children are special people, not just small adults, Lutheran Children’s Hospital publicly unveiled a construction project today that will add a second emergency department on the Lutheran campus. A ceremonial act of site demolition signaled the beginning of work on a 7,108-square-foot area adjacent to Lutheran’s main emergency department that will soon become a separate unit devoted exclusively to pediatric emergency care.

The main emergency department at Lutheran received more than 8,500 visits from patients under the age of 18 during 2012. A key factor leading up to the initiation of the $2.4 million LCH ER project was the hospital’s awareness that children and adults often have different concerns and reactions when receiving emergency care.        

“Hospitals tend to do a good job designating a certain number of exam rooms in their emergency departments for pediatric patients, but often the sights and sounds adults and children experience are exactly the same because it all takes place in the same general location,” said Brian Bauer, chief executive officer, Lutheran Hospital. “What we’ve always tried to do through Lutheran Children’s Hospital is send a comforting message to our younger patients that the primary location where they receive care at our hospital is unmistakably theirs.”

Once completed, the LCH ER will be open 24 hours a day and feature numerous amenities including a separate waiting area, nursing station and seven private exam rooms located within their own secured unit. All exam rooms will have televisions and DVD players, access to video games, a rocker recliner and size-appropriate equipment for pediatric patients.

Prior to its scheduled October completion, the LCH ER will already have Susan Frayer, MD, serving as its medical director of pediatric emergency services. She will assume that role July 1. The LCH ER team will also include nurses whose sole responsibility will be to care for pediatric patients in the unit.

"The pediatric emergency department will be staffed by an experienced team specially trained in providing care for our young patients,” said Dr. Frayer. “We are incredibly excited to be able to soon offer this expanded level of service to the community in a child-friendly environment that matches the warmth and color Lutheran Children’s Hospital is known for."

Children who are currently seen in the emergency department at Lutheran already benefit from the involvement of a child life specialist who strives to help make visits more pleasant by reducing the number of stressors a pediatric patient may face. And when medical imaging is required, such as an X-ray or CT scan, Lutheran utilizes protocols endorsed by the national Image Gently Campaign that was established to help hospitals promote safety and raise awareness of opportunities to lower radiation doses when imaging children.

After the LCH ER opens, pediatric trauma patients transported by ambulance or air medical helicopter to Lutheran’s Level II verified pediatric trauma center will still receive care in the main emergency department upon arrival. Regardless of age, all low-acuity emergency patients who travel to the Lutheran campus on their own will continue to utilize the same emergency walk-up entrance as they do now located on the hospital’s front circle drive. Once they pass through the common vestibule, pediatric and adult patients will be directed to their specific emergency departments.

Even before the opening of LCH in July 1999, Lutheran was already building a reputation regionwide for providing families easy access to specialized pediatric care that had historically only been available in larger metropolitan areas such as Indianapolis and Chicago. Today, LCH teams with more than 75 pediatricians from across the region and state who practice in 27 areas of pediatric specialty. This “hospital within a hospital” offers an environment filled with imagination and color. The award-winning design of the tree house elevator, specially decorated rooms, hallways and waiting areas invite children and their families to focus on something other than the often unpleasant purpose of their visit.

“Thousands of families have benefitted from the high-quality care LCH doctors and nurses have provided over the years,” added Bauer. “The comprehensive list of pediatric specialties already available complements our expansion of pediatric emergency care.”

Architecture and design services for the LCH ER are being handled by Morrison Kattman Menze Inc. The general contractor is Weigand Construction. Official work on the project is scheduled to begin April 15. Pediatric patients will continue to be cared for in the main emergency department at Lutheran Hospital throughout the six months of construction on the new unit. 


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