Freestanding urgent care facilities are a growing, important source of pediatric health care in many communities.
In an updated policy statement in the April 2014 issue of Pediatrics, “Pediatric Care Recommendations for Freestanding Urgent Care Facilities” (published online April 28), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) makes several recommendations for how urgent care providers can optimize their care for children, while maintaining the highest standards of care.
Urgent care facilities serving children should be capable of providing timely evaluation and initial resuscitation, and should be able to transfer patients in an emergency. Whether a patient is transferred or not, appropriate medical records should be created and promptly communicated to the patient’s medical home. Providers and staff must have the training and experience to manage children. Coordination with local emergency medical services is necessary.
According to the AAP, while urgent care facilities can provide an alternative for acute care if the medical home is not available, there is still a need for research into the role of urgent care in treating children. Given the growing number of freestanding urgent care facilities, it is important for health service researchers to develop a greater understanding of urgent care and treating children in these settings.