When a sick child is in a pediatric unit, the other kids may be sick, but the adults he sees – nurses, doctors, and Mom - are usually well. I believe this gives kids a sense of security. And a sick child has plenty of emotional and physical overload without seeing and wondering about sick adults.
This week I read a glowing report about a new hospital and its new layout that supposedly is easier for the patient and doctor: to speed things along, the treatment rooms do not separate pediatric and adult patients! Any available room will be used for any age in this combination area.
At the moment, this is my least favorite idea that hospitals have ever agreed to. But the logistics of it are not my concern today.
In the hospital praised in the article, kids taken to or from exam rooms will unavoidably pass adults en route to a room, or vice- versa. Some of the adults the kids see there will not be in good shape.
And don’t pediatric areas usually have some décor that might comfort, or at least distract a kid? All-purpose areas don’t.
Conversely, if I’m really hurting, the arrival of a doctor with a duck on his white coat will not be reassuring.
As an adult, and not a young adult, my usual battle cry is: Don’t isolate me with my age group! But surely, the exam room area in a hospital can’t be a great place for adult-child bonding.