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New Children’s Assessment Unit reduces unnecessary admissions

Sherwood Forest Hospitals has set up a new Children’s Assessment Unit (CAU) to assess children quickly and also help avoid unnecessary admissions onto the Children’s Ward at King’s Mill Hospital.

The new unit has been open since November 2017 and has seen some great results, taking 573 referrals within the first three months. Which means for every 10 children or young people referred, four then were assessed on the CAU and of those 90% of patients then go home soon after.

The unit helps reduce stress for families by getting a senior paediatrician and children’s nurse to assess the patient on the unit rather than them having to be admitted onto the ward. This speeds the process up and often means that children just see one senior doctor and can then go home without having to wait too long.

Consultant Paediatrician, Colin Dunkley, explains: “Children benefit significantly from the CAU, as we can prioritise all children rather than just unwell children. This is because staff on the CAU only have those patients to focus on. Unwell children or those needing a longer stay are seen by different team members on the ward. This alleviates pressures for our other ward staff and allows them to concentrate their care on our sickest patients.”

Matron for Children and Young People, Rachel Barker added: “The unit is set up to ensure the child sees the right person at the right time. The Children’s Nurse plays a central role as we can rapidly see how unwell the child is and then effectively support treatment, prompt discharge and reassure families.”

The new unit is staffed by a Children’s Nurse and one Senior Paediatrician and is open Monday – Friday 2pm – 9pm.