LANSDOWNE, Va. (WDVM) — Inova Loudoun Hospital has been awarded for its efforts to make its children’s emergency room sensory-friendly for patients with special needs. The emergency room was the only one in Virginia to receive the Emergency Nurses Association’s Lantern Award. Only 24 others were awarded internationally.
“It shows our commitment for quality, safety; not just the care we have for our patients but the care we have for our team members,” said April Brown, Senior Director of emergency and trauma services.
Inova Loudoun’s Children’s ER was tasked with showing off its innovativeness in patient advocacy, research, and education. In 2019, staff transformed its ER to better serve kids with special needs, thanks to the help of the Arc of Loudoun and specialists at George Washington University. Equipment is easier to move around to reduce stimuli. More equipment is available for kids, like weighted blankets and squishy toys. Clinical Director Sarah Stinson says some families will travel as far as two hours to see her physicians.
“There’s a lot of equipment that you can use for adults across the age ranges, but for children their developmental growth, their emotional growth — all of that — we need to be able to meet those unique needs every time they show up,” Stinson said.
The award couldn’t come at a better time, either. In April, Inova Loudoun’s Medical Director Dr. Edward Puccio told WDVM that patients were waiting three to four days to treat injuries for fear of contracting the coronavirus.
“Having this designation, having the Lantern Award, is an easy way for families to feel assured that, yes, we know exactly what we can do to serve them, care for them safely; keep both the child safe and the parent safe as well when they come,” said Stinson.