Sometimes, an injury or sickness is serious enough that it is absolutely clear that you need to go to the Emergency Department. Sometimes it is a lot less clear, and you have to decide between a trip to the ED that evening, or a trip to a family doctor the next day. For adults, making that decision is something they can deal with. For children, it is a lot harder. Which is why Humber River Hospital opened the Totally Kids Walk-In Clinic in January 2018.
“Nobody wants to wait a day or two when their kids are sick,” says Nathalie Gelinas, Pediatric Program Manager and Manager of the neonatal intensive care unit. “So we had a lot of kids showing up in the ED who really didn’t need emergency care, which wasn’t nice for them and contributed to backlogs. The Totally Kids Clinic has made a huge difference.”
The Totally Kids Clinic is open from 5pm to 8:30pm, seven days a week, year round. It is staffed by a nurse and a pediatrician. Kids are screened before they register, and if their complaint is serious enough, they are sent to the ED. Otherwise, they are seen in the clinic by both a nurse and a pediatrician.
It would be fair to say that the clinic has been a big success. What was just a trickle of patients in the early days has grown to a flood of 500-600 per month as word has spread through the community. The Totally Kids Clinic now has a rotation of 12 pediatricians and five nurses, and Nathalie Gelinas wouldn’t be surprised if it keeps growing.
“There is nothing else like it in this community. Parents know they have somewhere they can go if their child has an earache or a sore throat, and it doesn’t have to be an Emergency Department. This is good, responsive health care.”