Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida

Ambulances Cater to Children s Needs

Their bodies are smaller than those of adults, but the needs of pediatric patients can be large. This is especially true when young patients need transportation from one location to another and are too frail to ride in a car.

The Golisano Children s Hospital of Southwest Florida transport team provides safe and efficient ground transportation from outlying hospitals, in order for the children to obtain a higher level of care and access to all the specialties provided by the hospital. The team includes registered nurses and respiratory therapists trained in neonatal or pediatric critical care, functioning under the direction of a neonatal or pediatric intensive care physician, as well as a licensed EMT or paramedic.

The pediatric ambulance team started in 2011, says Niki Shimko, HealthPark Medical Center Pediatric Intensive Care Unit supervisor. The NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) team has been operational for more than 20 years. In October 2013, the two teams came together under one leadership.

The NICU team responds to all newborn transfers and the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) responds to all pediatric transfers. They currently have two ambulances that are equipped and dedicated solely to children and their unique needs. We have an EMT/paramedic in house at all times, allowing us to respond in a much quicker way to the needs of all children in Southwest Florida, Niki says.

The ambulances provide medical staff the access they need to tests and equipment that might not otherwise be part of a regular ambulance service. Transporting children, sometimes hours away from home, can be a frightening time for both the child and the family, Niki says. This summer the team will receive a third ambulance thanks to wonderful donations from the Sanibel-Captiva community. During the planning for this ambulance we looked at not only providing excellent care for the patient by adding state-of-the-art mobile medical equipment, but also making sure it is comfortable and kid friendly.

The new ambulance includes a pediatric-themed interior, DVD player and radio to soothe the noises of being in an ambulance. We make every effort to make the experience less frightening and as positive as possible, Niki says.

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Did You Know?

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team responds to all neonatal transfers and the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) responds to all pediatric transfers.


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