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CHEO’s virtual emergency room will help parents decide if kids need to go to the hospital

The new service offers video appointments where a doctor will assess the child’s condition and advise parents whether they need to come to the emergency department.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
May 06, 2020
Photo: Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) has opened a virtual emergency room to help soothe parents' fears about taking their kids into the actual hospital during a pandemic. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, parents can complete an online form to request a video consultation with a doctor. The information in the form will determine whether the issue can be handled virtually or if they do need to come into the emergency department. For example, a child with vomiting could be assessed virtually for other symptoms and a decision made.

The CHEO emergency department has been much less busy than usual since the start of the pandemic, and doctors are concerned that parents may not be seeking medical assistance soon enough, due to their fears about COVID-19. That means patients who do turn up in the ER have more serious symptoms than usual, according to hospital CEO Alex Munter.

The hospital hopes that even after the pandemic is over, they can secure funding to continue offering the virtual assessment service.

Source: CBC News

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