Dr. Charnish assesses a paediatric patient in the Child and Youth Emergency Zone.
Dr. Michael Charnish, Emergency Physician at MGH, assesses a paediatric patient in the Child and Youth Emergency Zone.

Michael Garron Hospital opens family-friendly Child and Youth Emergency Zone to improve urgent paediatric care for East Toronto community

(November 2, 2021) Toronto – Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) has opened the Child and Youth Emergency Zone, a family-friendly space within the hospital’s Stavro Emergency Department (ED) that is designed to treat children and youth under 18 years of age in East Toronto who need urgent or acute medical care when their paediatrician or family doctor is not available.

This includes assessing and treating illness, including cold, flu and COVID-19 symptoms, as well as injury, pain or mental health crises.

A family waits to receive care in the dedicated waiting area of the MGH's Child and Youth Emergency Zone.
Morgan Livingstone (right), Child Life Specialist at MGH, engages a family in a child-friendly activity while they wait to receive care in the Child and Youth Emergency Zone.

Patients who visit the Child and Youth Emergency Zone have the opportunity to receive paediatric assessment and treatment, as well as coping supports, in a dedicated space that is physically separate from the hospital’s main ED.

The goal is to make the ED experience more comfortable for local children, youth and families at a hospital that is close to home.

This helps improve patient experiences and helps decrease wait times for all demographics in MGH’s ED during peak hours.

The space, which is unique among community hospitals in Ontario, also allows MGH to link children, youth and families in East Toronto with the appropriate resources to help improve health outcomes both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Kyle Vojdani, Chief and Medical Director of the Emergency Department at MGH.
Dr. Kyle Vojdani, Chief and Medical Director of the Emergency Department at MGH.

“We understand that seeking emergency care for your child can be a stressful time and that hospital emergency departments can be an intimidating space for some young patients,” says Dr. Kyle Vojdani, Chief and Medical Director of the ED at MGH.

“The MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone aims to improve this experience by providing a safe, welcoming area for paediatric assessment and treatment so children and youth can receive care in a timely manner in an environment that supports their unique needs.”

The Child and Youth Emergency Zone is supported by partners such as The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), which shares MGH’s belief that delivering emergency care to children and youth within their communities is essential to improving health outcomes for this population.

“Accessible, high-quality care that is close to home for ill and injured children and youth is critical. We applaud our longstanding partners at MGH for their commitment to providing essential paediatric urgent care within their community,” says Dr. Jason Fischer, Division Head of Paediatric Emergency Medicine at SickKids.

Dr. Angela Marrocco, Emergency Physician at MGH, examines a paediatric patient in the Child and Youth Emergency Zone.
Dr. Angela Marrocco, Emergency Physician at MGH, examines a paediatric patient in the Child and Youth Emergency Zone.

The MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

It is located on the hospital campus off of Mortimer Street under the Emergency sign. Patients should use the door to the immediate right of the main ED entrance.

Patients who arrive at the Child and Youth Emergency Zone outside its operating hours can always receive care in MGH’s main ED.

The MGH ED is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone – adult or child – who requires urgent or emergent care. The hospital’s Virtual ED is also available for anyone experiencing urgent, non-life-threatening medical issues when their family doctor is not available.

In addition, MGH’s ED e-booking portal for minor injuries remains available for patients who are experiencing a musculoskeletal injury such as a fracture, sprain or possible broken bone in their upper body or lower body and would like an X-ray and physician assessment.

“MGH remains dedicated to providing the East Toronto community with the care they need when they need it,” Dr. Vojdani adds.

“While we encourage children and youth to see their paediatrician or family doctor whenever possible, our Child and Youth Emergency Zone is an additional urgent care option for this population in East Toronto during peak hours when our Emergency Department typically sees higher volumes.”

The MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone was designed with input from local children, youth and families.

The waiting area in the MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone.
The MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone features a dedicated waiting area with child-appropriate activities.

It features a dedicated entrance, waiting area and exam rooms, as well as a calming colour palette and murals by local artists inspired by nature, fantasy and other elements.

Other unique features of the Child and Youth Emergency Zone include a screened breastfeeding corner in the waiting area; a baby changing station in the washroom; and child-appropriate TV, books, toys and other activities.

The opening of the Child and Youth Emergency Zone builds on MGH’s longstanding commitment to providing high-quality, family- and patient-centered paediatric care to the East Toronto community.

This commitment is supported by Kids Health Alliance, a partnership which focuses on improving the delivery of evidence-based, high-quality care.

“Putting children and youth at the centre of care is the imperative. MGH’s Child and Youth Emergency Zone will be a great encouragement for families to access care close to home, day or night, with the confidence that their care team will provide high-quality care,” says Lauren Ettin, Executive Director of Kids Health Alliance.

The Child and Youth Emergency Zone also builds on MGH’s work with East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) that the hospital is a part of, to increase access to care in East Toronto. This work includes collaborating with community agencies and local family physicians to operate COVID-19 Outreach Centres in priority neighbourhoods, which offer walk-in and child-friendly COVID-19 testing, assessments, vaccines and other supports to local residents.

To learn more about the MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone, visit tehn.ca/EmergencyDepartment.

About Michael Garron Hospital
Nestled in the heart of East Toronto, MGH is a vibrant community teaching hospital serving more than 400,000 people in 22 distinct neighbourhoods. For 90 years, MGH has delivered high-quality, patient-centred healthcare services to families along the continuum of care, from welcoming a new life to facing end-of-life. MGH has continually renewed its commitment to community by adapting its programs and services to meet the evolving needs of the diverse population it serves. MGH is a leading full-service hospital with strong community and research partners, including the University of Toronto. Read more: tehn.ca            

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