Oregon’s Latest Program Aims To Ensure That Children Get The Right Care In An Emergency

PORTLAND, Ore. β€” A new programme in Oregon is the first of its kind. Its goal is to make sure that kids get the right care in an emergency. The HERO Kids Registry (Health Emergency Ready Oregon) programme is a free, voluntary way for families in Oregon to record important information about their child’s health in case of an emergency.

“HERO Kids is a new and interesting programme. Ben Hoffman, a paediatrician at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and director of the Oregon Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Needs, said, “It’s the first one in the country.”

First responders have to decide what to do right away, even though they don’t know much about the patient’s health history. Before kids get to the hospital, this new programme helps fill in the gaps.

“We take care of a lot of kids who have a lot of complicated health problems, and letting them know ahead of time can help them get ready,” Hoffman said.

Kids can’t always tell adults about their health needs because family members aren’t always around, they might be too upset at the time, they might not speak the same language, or they might have a special health care need.

The National Survey of Children’s Health says that one in five children in Oregon has special healthcare needs. These needs can be physical, mental, emotional, or related to their development.

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According to National Core Indicators, about 23% of Oregon families with a child with an intellectual or developmental disability said they did not feel ready to handle their child’s needs in an emergency.

“There are a lot of children with autism or behavioural health needs who can be triggered by people in authority, people in uniform, or loud noises like sirens,” says Hoffman. “Knowing what could trigger that child, how they might be able to calm the child, and what level of understanding and communication skills might be needed can really help those first responders take care of the child and young adult in the right way.”

Hoffman and his team, along with many other groups, worked to make the registry a reality in Oregon. They looked at what families and young people, emergency medical service agencies, hospitals, clinics, and public health programmes had to say.

It’s not required for anyone to sign up, and the information is kept in a safe database.

The first goal is to sign up kids and young adults from birth to 26 who are medically complex, have developmental disabilities or have mental or behavioural problems.

“It’s especially important for kids, especially those who may have been traumatised by past experiences or who may have developmental and behavioural needs, to be able to treat them in a way that meets their needs, keeps them comfortable, and makes it less scary,” Hoffman said.

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