Families in Walton County and Destin in need of emergency care for their children now can find it closer to home. As of December 14, 2020, Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast (ASHEC) began offering expanded access to pediatric emergency care, closely supported by the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. This new partnership allows for more direct connections between the pediatric ER expansion in Miramar Beach, and the specialists at Children’s Hospital, the region’s only state-of- the-art facility dedicated to infants and children.
“Each year, our Miramar Beach campus cares for more than 4,900 children in the emergency room,” said Henry Stovall, regional president of Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast. “We want to ensure those children have a smooth and positive experience, plus ready access to high-quality, specialized care at our Children’s Hospital in Pensacola. This expansion of children’s services in our community will help us to grow the care we are able to provide locally.”
Because children’s medical needs are vastly different from those of adults, the expansion features advanced equipment specially designed for diagnosing and treating medical emergencies in kids. Four treatment rooms and three observation room are staffed by board-certified, emergency care physicians available 24/7 to deliver child-centric, life-saving services.
The AHSEC team, which has received additional training from pediatric critical care specialists, also has been instructed in how to make the caregiving experience as child-friendly as possible. When necessary, medical transportation services are available through the Children’s Hospital to bring the critically ill or injured to its location in Pensacola, where specialized areas of pediatrics such as surgery are accessible.
Ultimately the expanded services for children at ASHEC mean that emergency care is available without undue delay right in the community where children live, learn and play. The convenience of this improved access can make a difference in the outcome of their recovery. In addition, parents no longer face the stressful drive of an hour or more for their kids needing immediate medical intervention.
Will Condon, president of Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, says, “As we continue to grow our children’s hospital services, we’re working hard to bring specialized healthcare closer to the communities we serve. With expanded pediatric services in Miramar Beach, fewer children and babies will need to be transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Pensacola for observation. They can be kept home in their community. This means greater convenience, improved access to healthcare and ultimately better outcomes for families of sick and injured kids.”
This addition of pediatric ER services follows the opening of a Level II neonatal intensive care unit at Emerald Coast in the spring of 2020.