Greenwich Hospital’s outpatient pediatric clinic and pediatric specialty services have expanded to such a point that they have moved.
The hospital will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of both the new Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Pediatric Specialty Center and the Greenwich Hospital Pediatric Outpatient Clinic on Nov. 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 500 W. Putnam Ave. in Greenwich.
The new YNHCH Pediatric Specialty Center is 8,700 square feet, while the new Greenwich Hospital Pediatric Outpatient Clinic is 2,210 square feet. Both opened to the public on Nov. 5.
The move from the hospital itself, at 5 Perryridge Road, is reflective of the general expansion of pediatric services being offered under Greenwich’s partnership with YNHCH, whose creation about a year ago was touted as the region’s most advanced children’s emergency services.
“To date, the feedback we’ve received from the community, the children, their parents and the pediatricians has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Dr. Karen Santucci, medical director of YNHCH’s Emergency Department, who spends most of her time working at Greenwich.
“A lot of folks don’t expect to find pediatric emergency medical providers like ours in a community hospital,” Santucci continued. “That’s partly because we haven’t marketed it much, but clearly we’re making a real difference.”
Children make up about a quarter of the 40,000 visits made to Greenwich Hospital’s emergency department each year, she said, and that is one of the reasons the partnership between the two hospitals’ emergency departments was formed.
“No one wakes up in the morning expecting to go to an emergency department,” Santucci remarked. “Even for adults, it can be a frightening experience. But for children who are injured or who are really not feeling well, it can be really intimidating. That’s why we created such an inviting environment.”
Under the direction of Santucci and Dr. Christopher Davison, medical director of Greenwich Hospital’s Emergency Department, the decision was made to create a separate entrance for children, with a waiting area featuring a warm color palette, virtual fish tank, age-appropriate furniture and a TV showing cartoons.
“In the past, children had to walk through almost the entire emergency department to get to their exam room,” Santucci noted. “Now they can get to where they need to go much more quickly, in an environment that’s a lot more private, something the children and their parents can both appreciate.”
Greenwich is the only hospital in Fairfield County to offer round-the-clock, advanced pediatric emergency care, she added.
At Greenwich, children who come to the emergency department are seen by pediatric emergency physicians from YNHCH who are onsite. After an exam, if they are not sent home, they may be admitted to the pediatric unit at Greenwich Hospital, where a pediatric hospitalist from YNHCH will oversee their care.
On the outpatient side, the YNHCH Pediatric Specialty Center (moving from the hospital to 500 West Putnam) receives referrals from parents and doctors. For example, the pediatrician may refer a patient to the specialty center because he or she has a urology problem.
In addition, the Greenwich Hospital Pediatric Outpatient Clinic (also moving to West Putnam) works with families with limited resources, who typically have little or no health insurance. They come to the center for checkups, sick visits, vaccinations and so on. Those children may be referred to the YNHCH Pediatric Specialty Center if they have a problem that requires specialized care.
In addition to urology, specialists are available in a number of other fields, including allergy/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, hepatology, neurology, oncology, phlebotomy, respiratory, rheumatology and surgery.
Santucci noted that the pediatric staff is constantly going through simulations to ensure that the care they provide remains up to date. “When it comes to children, emergency situations are a very different proposition from working with adults,” she said. “We have a facilitator to oversee all of our simulations, to ensure that everyone knows what the rules are.
“The fact is, children aren’t supposed to die,” Santucci added. “We’re here to prevent that from happening as much as we can.”