Social Workers Foster Improved Emergency Health Care for Children

NASW has received a federal grant to improve emergency care for critically ill or injured children.

Under a one-year grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NASW will work with the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program (EMSC) to reduce mortality rates and ensure better health and mental health services for children and adolescents.

NASW will detail the role of social workers in providing crisis services to children, adolescents, and their families, follow-up referrals, and links to community resources.

NASW also will enlist emergency and mental health professionals from many disciplines to develop guidelines for treatment and follow-up for children and adolescents whose risk-taking behaviors, such as speeding or drug use, land them in hospital emergency rooms. The guidelines also will show how social workers, physicians, nurses, and emergency medical technicians can work most effectively together.

Children's reactions to traumatic illness and injury differ from those of adults. The EMSC program seeks to address deficiencies in emergency care for children, including lack of training, lack of child-size equipment in hospitals, failure to coordinate emergency care with primary care providers, and lack of data.

The program draws upon the expertise of many organizations. It seeks to ensure state-of-the-art emergency medical care, integration of pediatric services into emergency medical services, and access to an entire spectrum of emergency services for children and adolescents, including prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation.

January 22, 1997