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Physicians Update


Physicians Update

Winter 2012

UCLA Set to Increase Access to Pediatric Services in Santa Monica and Westwood

Physician and pediatric patient holding handsSpecialized children's hospitals provide nearly all advanced-level pediatric services offered in California, while the vast majority of primary and secondary pediatric care is provided in community-based practices or general acute-care settings. The newly remodeled inpatient Mattel Children's Unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica bridges the gap between these two delivery models while expanding access to care, says pediatrician Dennis Woo, M.D., past chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Santa Monica hospital.

"It's a way of extending high-quality care to more children in the larger community," Dr. Woo says. "Most of the children will still receive continuity of care from their personal pediatrician, but they will also have access to specialized expertise and technologies traditionally limited to academic medical centers."

According to Dr. Woo, the overall strategy is to handle the most specialized care - heart surgeries or organ transplants, for example - at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA in Westwood, while treating more general pediatric conditions, such as asthma, infections, community acquired pneumonia, dehydration or diarrhea, at Santa Monica. The Santa Monica inpatient Mattel Children's Unit, which serves as an extension of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, has expanded from 15 beds in non-private rooms to 26 beds in private "family-centered" rooms, which will make it easier to admit pediatric patients directly from Santa Monica'sNethercutt Emergency Center, an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics-designated facility. The hospital also offers  full-service labor and delivery services, a nursery, a neonatal intensive care unit and a pediatric intensive care unit.

"To have an active emergency room, you need a place where physicians can admit children," Dr. Woo says. "Everything works in tandem."Physician and pediatric patient

"Caring for children requires a certain set of skills that do not exist in hospitals that care for adults only," adds Sherin Devaskar, M.D., physician-in-chief of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. "That skill set is now being transported to our Santa Monica hospital. In addition, pediatric subspecialists are available. We see this extension as our commitment to the children and families of the Santa Monica community and beyond."

According to Dr. Devaskar, a major benefit of the new Mattel Children's Unit in Santa Monica is that it offers family-centered amenities and services that include private rooms, which enable parents to spend the night with their children, and UCLA child-life specialists, who use age-appropriate techniques to prepare children for upcoming medical procedures and support parents and other family members before and during procedures. Most important, children's play and other related activities are not interrupted due to their hospitalization. Parents are also educated and empowered to better cope with congenital and chronic conditions at home so that preventable hospitalizations may be reduced, Dr. Devaskar says.

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