Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) set the gold standard for paediatric emergency care when it opened its designated Child and Youth Emergency Zone on September 14th, 2021. The idea for this space came at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many primary care offices closed or switched to virtual care. Designed with families in mind, this area provides a safe space for children and youth under the age of 18 to access healthcare in-person in East Toronto.
The Zone is located in a separate area of the Emergency Department with its own entrance, child-friendly waiting room and assessment rooms. Currently, the Child and Youth Emergency Zone is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day of the week, although both children and adults are welcome in the main MGH Emergency Department 24/7.
One of the most significant outcomes of this practice is the improved accessibility to reliable care for families and children (clients) when they are unable to reach their paediatrician. Another benefit of this practice is that it helps change the way that children view hospitals by providing more appropriate and personalized services. Coming to the hospital for emergency care can be a frightening and vulnerable experience for a child. However, at the Zone, children and families are greeted with bubbles at the entrance and are welcomed with toys and colorful spaces. With this, a child’s first impression of hospitals can be transformed for the better by allowing them to be active participants in their medical experience.