Data on the readiness of the general emergency departments (EDs) in Canada to care for children requiring emergency care are limited. Recent evidence suggests an inverse association between pediatric readiness of the general ED and mortality.
To assess the baseline pediatric readiness of the general EDs in the province of Manitoba, Canada, to care for acutely ill and injured children.
This was a cross-sectional survey study conducted between 2019 and 2020. We used a validated pediatric readiness research checklist to obtain information on the six domains of the general EDs in Manitoba in the fiscal year 2019. A general ED that managed acutely ill patients (0–17th birthday), except for psychiatric cases (up to the 18th birthday), was defined as eligible. We performed a descriptive analysis using the weighted pediatric readiness score (WPRS) based on a 100-point scale. The factors associated with the total WPRS were examined in linear regression models.
Of the 42 eligible general EDs, 34 centers participated with a participation rate of 81%. However, only 27 general EDs plus one specialized children ED (28, 67%) completed the survey. The overall median WPRS (/100) attained by the general EDs was 52.34 (interquartile range [IQR] = 10.44). The only specialized children ED in Manitoba achieved a score of 89.75. Over half (15, 55.6%) of the general EDs scored 50 or more. The mean volume of the general ED that participated was 4010.9 (± SD 2137.2) pediatric general ED visits/year. The average scores attained in the domains such as coordination of patient care, general ED staffing and training, and quality improvement were low across the five Regional Health Authorities. The general ED volume was directly associated with the total WPRS, regression coefficient, β = 0.24 (95% CI 0.04–0.44). Neither the capacity of the general ED to receive pediatric patients from a nursing station, β = − 0.07 (95% CI − 0.28–0.14), nor the capacity to admit pediatric patients that visited the general ED, β = − 0.03 (− 0.23–0.17) was associated with the total WPRS.
The pediatric readiness of the general EDs across Manitoba is comparable to other Canadian region, yet some domains need to be improved.||