Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern United States since 1911. It is the only hospital in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is home to Alabama’s only pediatric trauma center and the only pediatric burn center in the Southeast.
Children’s of Alabama is one of the 10 busiest pediatric hospitals in the nation with more than 634,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits in 2011. Outpatient care is provided through primary care offices and outpatient centers throughout Alabama.
Ten divisions within Children’s of Alabama were recently ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. These included pulmonology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, neonatology, cancer, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, and nephrology.
A 750,000-square-foot expansion facility, The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, opened August 4, 2012. The additional space expanded Children’s from a total of 275 patient beds to 332 patient beds plus 48 neonatal intensive care unit bassinets. With the expansion, the hospital plans to add two new services—pediatric transplant and pediatric cardiology—which will make it the only comprehensive pediatric health care facility in the state.
RESPIRATORY CARE AT CHILDREN’S OF ALABAMA
Respiratory therapists at Children’s of Alabama practice in an environment conducive to learning and professional growth. They work with other health care professionals committed to providing family-centered care to patients in a variety of settings. Realistic staffing ratios and a supportive team environment help to ensure that each patient is treated safely and effectively.
Currently, more than 120 respiratory therapists are available on staff to ensure that each patient receives the highest quality care. One department manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the acute and chronic care areas. Another oversees the day-to-day operations of the critical care areas. A dedicated staff of respiratory therapists is regularly assigned to work in each area with the goal of enhancing the consistency of patient care.
Practicing in the acute and chronic care areas of the hospital affords respiratory therapists the opportunity to develop and expand essential skills while caring for patients of all ages and treatment needs. Acute care respiratory therapists played an integral role in the development and implementation of the inpatient asthma care pathway utilized at Children’s of Alabama. Since initial implementation in April 2011, use of the pathway has been associated with decreased length of stay and a reduction of hospital charges for these patients. When compared to patients receiving usual care, pathway patients have a 50% reduction in length of stay and a 33% reduction in charges per admission. Additionally, respiratory therapists have contributed greatly to the development of a standardized inpatient asthma education class for patients and their families. Acute care respiratory therapists play vital roles in caring for children admitted to the Home Ventilator Program and are also valued members of a nationally recognized cystic fibrosis center.
Included within critical care areas at Children’s of Alabama are a 22-bed pediatric ICU, a 20-bed cardiovascular ICU, a 48-bed neonatal ICU, and a 6-bed regional burn center. Critical care respiratory therapists function as integral members of the patient care team, working closely with physicians and nurses to provide care following the most current medical practices and utilizing the latest technologies.
The mission of Children’s of Alabama is to provide the finest pediatric health services to all children in an environment that fosters excellence in research and medical education. Children’s of Alabama respiratory therapists work to support the mission by being advocates for all children and by participating in community outreach programs to educate the public about issues affecting children’s health and well-being. Children’s of Alabama respiratory therapists share a passion for working with children and a dedication to realize the vision of providing a better childhood for all children.
Children’s of Alabama
1600 7th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Written in collaboration with the editors of RT Magazine.