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AAP Issues Guidance for Freestanding Urgent Care Facilities

Facilities should be able to assess, stabilize, and initiate transfer of children as necessary

MONDAY, April 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Guidance is provided for freestanding urgent care facilities serving children in an American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement published online April 28 in Pediatrics.

Gregory P. Conners, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., from the AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and colleagues discuss the increasing use of pediatric urgent care facilities and provide recommendations for their use.

The authors note that freestanding urgent care facilities serving children should be able to provide timely assessments, initial resuscitation, and stabilization, and transfer patients as necessary. Programs for monitoring and improving the quality of emergency care for children should be in place. Operators of urgent care facilities should consider and communicate the scope of care that they can and should provide, while principles guiding the extent of evaluation and management of other complaints should be established. Guidance relating to conditions that are or are not appropriate for the facility should be readily available, including guidance for conditions that are too severe to manage. Providers and staff should have training to manage children, including those with special needs. Educational opportunities should be developed as more pediatricians and providers are employed by or work with urgent care facilities.

"Well-managed freestanding urgent care facilities can enhance the provision of urgent services to the children of their communities, be integrated into the medical community, and provide a safe, effective adjunct to, but not a replacement for, the medical home," the authors write.

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