Published on: 05/26/2020
Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has resumed regular operations and is adapting operations to meet the current healthcare needs of children in South Florida. The hospital has developed a highly specialized four-bed unit-within-a-unit for treatment of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a complex disorder that is affecting youngsters worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The four-room “MIS-C pod” is part of the hospital’s renowned 40-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, which routinely receives transfers of critically ill children from referring hospitals throughout the state.
“Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is the region’s pediatric care leader and we continuously adapt to the healthcare landscape to ensure that we meet the needs of the children and families of our community,” said Matthew A. Love, president and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System, the hospital’s parent organization. “This new unit reflects our commitment to supporting our community as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. In addition, we have resumed regular operations at most of our facilities throughout South Florida with enhanced safety practices, ensuring that families have access to the Nicklaus pediatric services they depend on for the care of their children.”
Dr. Balagangadhar Totapally, chief of the Division of Critical Care at Nicklaus Children’s, said “As the pandemic progresses, we are likely to see increasing numbers of children with MIS-C. “It’s important for families to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to be familiar with the symptoms of MIS-C, which primarily affects children. Symptoms include fever, rash, cough, pink eye, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and swelling of hands and feet,” Dr. Totapally said.
Nicklaus children’s is uniquely prepared to provide care for the children with MIS-C, which can adversely affect multiple organ systems. “At Nicklaus children’s, we have virtually every pediatric specialty available on our campus to consult in the care of patients with complex care needs. These experts include but are not limited to pediatric intensivists, and pediatric cardiologists, nephrologists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, pulmonologists and more,” said Dr. Keith Meyer, medical director of extracorporeal services at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Features of the MIS-C pod include special barriers to prevent cross-contamination within the intensive care unit. Of note, while children with MIS-C are not contagious in most cases, MIS-C is associated with exposure to COVID-19, thus special environmental precautions are an essential part of the care space. The pod also includes a decontamination area for those entering and exiting the unit and a specialized bed to help staff with the regular turning of intubated adolescent patients.
The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is a recipient of a Gold Beacon Award for Excellence by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Beacon Awards set the standard for excellence in patient care environments by collecting and utilizing evidence-based information to enhance patient outcomes, and patient and staff satisfaction. The awards signify excellent and sustained unit performance and patient outcomes.