Emergency Center

The Emergency Center at CHKD was opened in 1994 to make sure that children could receive emergency medical attention from pediatric specialists in a child-friendly setting. Today, more than 40,000 children a year benefit from this highly specialized service.

We hope you'll take a few minutes now to learn a little bit about our pediatric emergency center, so you'll know in advance where to go if an emergency ever arises with your children.

For more information, please call (757) 668-7000.

Where are you located?

CHKD's Emergency Center is located on the first floor of the hospital. It has its own entrance-at the Raleigh Avenue side of the hospital-and parking.

What are your hours?

CHKD's Emergency Center is always open.

Who will care for my child?

Children who come to CHKD's Emergency Center are cared for by specialists - pediatricians, nurses and technicians - who are especially trained to understand and meet the unique needs of children. Here are some of the people who may help take care of your child while you're here:

Physicians - An attending physician is in charge of your child's care for this visit. Other physicians and physicians-in-training (residents) may also see your child.

Triage Nurse - This is the first nurse to see your child.

Registered Nurse (RN) - This nurse takes direct care of your child.

Technicians - Sometimes technicians help by checking blood pressure, taking blood samples for the lab or doing X-rays. They work with the nurse to provide direct care for your child.

Nurse Practitioner - This nurse works with the physician to plan and deliver care to your child.

Respiratory Therapist - This person helps children with breathing problems.

Others you may come in contact with during your visit are:

Child Life Specialist - This person is specially trained to communicate with your child, giving explanations your child can understand, providing emotional support, and helping to ease your child's fears through play therapy.

Patient Advocate - This person may let you know why you are waiting and will answer questions to make your visit as comfortable as possible.

Registrars - They register your child to the CHKD Emergency Center or the hospital.

Students - CHKD trains many physicians, nurses and technicians who may be involved in the care of your child. They are always supervised.

Support Associates - They help to keep the Emergency Center clean and stocked with supplies needed to care for your child.

What happens when I come to the CHKD Emergency Center?

The first area you come to when you enter the CHKD Emergency Center is called Triage.

The triage nurse will take care of your child's immediate medical needs, such as placing a bandage on an open wound, applying ice, or providing fever or pain medication. The triage nurse will record your child's weight, temperature, heart and breathing rate, and blood pressure. The triage nurse briefly examines your child to help decide what to do next. The nurse will ask you a few questions about your child's health. The nurse decides which patients will be seen first, according to whom is the sickest. The triage nurse decides where patients will be seen in the CHKD Emergency Center (whether in Fast Track or the Main Treatment Area).

What happens next?

After triage, you will go to the main waiting area. Soon, a staff member at the registration desk will call your child's name. The registrar will ask your name, address, and child's insurance information. Guardianship papers or written permission from the child's parent will be needed if you are not the parent. A medical record will be made and a name band will be placed on the child's wrist or ankle.

You will wait in the waiting area for your child's name to be called for treatment.

For your convenience, the following are available in the waiting area:

  • Public telephones
  • Vending machines
  • Reading material
  • Toys and a television
  • Rest rooms

You and your child will be escorted to a treatment room as soon as one is available. There are several special treatment areas of the Emergency Center:

  • Special Treatment Rooms
  • Suture room - where cuts get fixed
  • Cast room - where broken bones get fixed
  • Resuscitation room - where seriously ill patients are stabilized
  • ENT room - where ear, nose, throat and dental emergencies are treated

Two adults are allowed in the treatment room with the child. We ask that one adult remain with the child at all times.

Fast Track
Fast Track is where children with less serious injuries and illnesses receive care. In Fast Track the care may not be very fast at all if there are a number of children being seen today. A nurse practitioner or a physician may see your child. It's like a visit to your child's doctors' office. This area is staffed with licensed practical nurses (LPN).

Treatment Room
Here is what you can expect when you and your child go in a treatment room:

  • A doctor and nurse will examine your child.
  • Your child may have tests done by a technician (such as blood or urine tests).
  • Your child may go to a room nearby to have X-rays taken.
  • Your child may be connected to a heart monitor.
  • Your child will get the treatment he or she requires at the time, according to his or her specific emergency needs.

How long will I have to wait?

Some reasons you may have to wait in the CHKD Emergency Center after seeing the doctor include:

  • If Lab and X-ray tests were done, we must wait for the results.
  • Your child is receiving treatment.
  • Your child is being observed after receiving treatment.
  • Other patients with more serious injuries or illnesses are being seen.
  • Your child may need to be admitted to the hospital and arrangements are being made to get a bed in an appropriate place in the hospital.
  • Your child has to be seen by a special doctor or by his/her private doctor.
  • Your child has to be seen in one of the specialty treatment rooms of the Emergency Center.

Should we call our pediatrician before we come?

It's best to call your doctor before you visit the Emergency Center. Also remember to do the following:

  • Park your car in the Emergency Parking Lot at the corner of Children's Lane and Raleigh Avenue. Be sure you are not parked where ambulances park (in the driveway by our doors).
  • Stay with your child at all times.
  • Sign in at the Triage Desk.
  • If you have other children with you, call a friend or family member to meet you at the CHKD Emergency Center to help with the other children.
  • Watch your children carefully as they play with toys or watch TV in the waiting area. Don't let your child have anything to drink or eat (unless the nurse or doctor tells you it's OK).
  • Explain to your child why you've come to the Emergency Center. Tell him that the staff here wants to help him feel better.

Should I bring anything special with me?

When you come to CHKD's Emergency Center, please bring:

  • Legal custody or guardianship papers*
  • Your child's shot records
  • Containers of medication your child is taking
  • Your child's favorite toy, book or blanket
  • If you suspect your child may have swallowed something dangerous, bring the container of that material
  • Information about your child's insurance

* If you are not the legal guardian, please bring a written note from the parent giving you permission to seek treatment for this child.

What happens when it's time to leave?

Before you leave the CHKD Emergency Center, be sure you have received a written copy of the discharge instructions. Here are some things we will tell you to make sure you understand the care we've provided.

  • What is wrong with your child
  • What you need to do at home
  • How much and for how long to give medication (if necessary)
  • When and where to have a follow-up exam
  • Who to call if you have problems once you leave

It's important that you stay until your child is discharged. But, if you must leave before you are discharged, please tell one of the CHKD Emergency Center staff before you leave.