We have this scenario quite a few times a day, and our ED is physically
separated into an ED and Urgent Care side with separate physician
Single-family siblings all get triaged and registered one-by-one then will
get clustered in accordance with the patient with the highest acuity: e.g. -
if two kids present with URI and one is a cardiac infant, then they both
enter the high acuity side. Siblings are always in the same room / space
with 1 or more caretakers, and we usually place them in one single room
instead of divvying them up.
The exception is two acutely presenting siblings; for example, we have
two Propionic Acidemia siblings who usually get sick together, and we
squeeze in two full beds in a large room, with mom in the middle.
As much as we don't like the idea of kids who 'tag along,' they can
sometimes be useful for diagnoses. There was one 4-year-old I was
debating doing a Rapid Strep test for fever and abdominal pain only, and
then her 3-year-old brother also came in for exudative pharyngitis and
peeling of the hands.
I'v also found that having siblings present in the same room makes the
exam for the younger kids more cooperative. Having the 5-year-old go
through an exam successfully with the 2-year-old watching makes the
subsequent exam slightly calmer. Slightly.
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