Published on January 31, 2019

Reading Hospital To Open Pediatric Emergency Department 'Built For Kids'

Children may soon be less intimidated by a trip for emergency care, thanks to Reading Hospital's new Pediatric Emergency Department "Built For Kids." The new unit is scheduled to open Thursday, February 7.

Reading Hospital has the busiest single site emergency department in Pennsylvania, and it treats close to 30,000 children each year. Until now, children and adults were treated in the same space. As part of its two years of planning for the Pediatric Emergency Department, the hospital met with community members to determine what children and parents needed most. Then, it created a Pediatric Emergency Department that includes a comfortable waiting room, apart from the general emergency department - complete with a "No Ouch" Zone and interactive screen-play area - and colorful, spacious patient rooms to accommodate families and that are accessible to all, including children with special needs.

"Our vision is to provide outstanding care to children in an environment that reduces stress and anxiety for patients and their families," said Charles Barbera, MD, Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine. "Our new Pediatric Emergency Department offers warm, compassionate, specialized pediatric care in a friendly setting that welcomes children and will help them heal."

The Pediatric Emergency Department includes 16 rooms specifically designed for pediatric patients; a specialized pediatric "triage" area; highly experienced pediatric physicians, specialists, nurses and physician assistants; a family-friendly waiting room with interactive screens and games; a virtual fish tank; Wi-Fi access and cell phone charging stations; private family consultation rooms; specialized programs such as music therapy to ease children's fear and improve their outlook; child-specific medical equipment; and accommodations that ensure children with autism and special needs are as comfortable as possible throughout their visit. 

"After visiting other pediatric emergency departments and talking with community members and pediatric healthcare specialists, Reading Hospital set out to develop a nurturing space for children and their families," said William M. Jennings, President and CEO, Reading Hospital. "We invested a large amount of energy and effort in developing this specialized space for our community's littlest residents, because their health and well-being are so important to us."