Author: Kathleen Brown, MD – Children’s National Health System

In April 2015, the first manuscript addressing key findings from the 2013-14 National Pediatric Readiness (Peds Ready) assessment was published online in JAMA Pediatrics. A few important data points highlighted in the article included:

  • The presence of a physician and nurse pediatric emergency care coordinator (PECC) was associated with a higher adjusted median Pediatric Readiness score compare with no PECC.
  • Only 47% of responding facilities had included pediatric specific considerations into their hospital disaster plans. Even those facilities where children are frequently cared for had opportunities to improve their disaster preparedness.
  • Only 45% of hospital emergency departments (ED) reported having a pediatric care review process and only 58% of respondents had defined pediatric quality indicators.

According to the JAMA article by Marianne Gausche-Hill, MD, “The presence of physician and nurse PECCs was associated with a higher adjusted median pediatric readiness scores (82.2) compared with no PECC (66.5) across all pediatric volume categories. The presence of PECCs increased the likelihood of having all the recommended components, including a pediatric quality improvement process.”

To illustrate the important role PECCs play, the EMSC Program, in collaboration with Peds Ready partners’ the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Emergency Nurses Association, hosted the webinar “Is Your ED Ready for Children? Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinators Lead the Way to Readiness!” This webinar shared data supporting the need for PECCs, as well as strategies employed to identify and assure availability of PECCs in the EDs of a large hospital system. Finally, a physician and nurse PECC discussed challenges encountered and opportunities to improve pediatric readiness in their ED.

The lack of disaster preparedness plans that addressed the unique needs of children is of great concern considering that children have unique, often complex physiological, psychosocial and psychological needs that differ from an adult, especially during disaster situations. In response to these findings, a multi-disciplinary team of subject matter experts developed the Checklist of Essential Pediatric Domains and Considerations for Every Hospital’s Disaster Preparedness Policies to assess the inclusion of children in existing disaster plans.

The Checklist is intended as a tool to help hospital administrators and leadership incorporate essential pediatric considerations into existing hospital disaster policies. For more information about the checklist, watch the webinar “Essential Pediatric Domains and Considerations for Hospital Disaster Preparedness: Where Do We Begin?”

To assist facilities in developing a quality improvement process addressing the needs of children, Peds Ready Project Partners hosted the webinar Pediatric Readiness Data: An Opportunity to Improve Quality of Care in Your Emergency Department. Content from this webinar has been converted to an online education tool linked to continuing education credit.

Moving forward, established Peds Ready partners and new stakehold­ers for Pediatric Readiness will gather in Bethesda, MD, this February to discuss next steps to help further reduce gaps in hospital pediatric readiness.


For more information, click on the link below:

National Pediatric Readiness website


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