A National US Survey of Pediatric Emergency Department Coronavirus Pandemic Preparedness
Pediatr Emerg Care
OBJECTIVE: We aim to describe the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) preparedness efforts among a diverse set of pediatric emergency departments (PEDs) within the United States. METHODS: We conducted a prospective multicenter survey of PED medical director(s) from selected children's hospitals recruited through a long established national research network. The questionnaire was developed by physicians with expertise in pediatric emergency medicine, disaster readiness, human factors, and survey development. Thirty-five children's hospitals were identified for recruitment through an established national research network. RESULTS: We report on survey responses from 25 (71%) of 35 PEDs, of which 64% were located within academic children's hospitals. All PEDs witnessed decreases in non-COVID-19 patients, 60% had COVID-19-dedicated units, and 32% changed their unit pediatric patient age to include adult patients. All PEDs implemented changes to their staffing model, with the most common change impacting their physician staffing (80%) and triaging model (76%). All PEDs conducted training for appropriate donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and 62% reported shortages in PPE. The majority implemented changes in the airway management protocols (84%) and cardiac arrest management in COVID patients (76%). The most common training modalities were video/teleconference (84%) and simulation-based training (72%). The most common learning objectives were team dynamics (60%), and PPE and individual procedural skills (56%). CONCLUSIONS: This national survey provides insight into PED preparedness efforts, training innovations, and practice changes implemented during the start of COVID-19 pandemic. Pediatric emergency departments implemented broad strategies including modifications to staffing, workflow, and clinical practice while using video/teleconference and simulation as preferred training modalities. Further research is needed to advance the level of preparedness and support deep learning about which preparedness actions were effective for future pandemics.