What we do
This is the area where your child is first seen after they have been referred. When you first arrive you will be met by the reception staff who will take your and your child’s details and ‘book’ you into the unit. A skilled nurse will then assess the condition of your child, complete a nursing assessment and perform initial observations. Your child will then be ‘triaged’ into a green, amber or red category depending on their observations and how unwell they are. This triage category then determines how quickly your child is seen. The sickest children are seen first and as a priority so you might see other families, who might have arrived later, being seen before you. You may be asked to collect a urine specimen from your child or to give them a special drink whilst you are waiting to see a doctor. We aim to get every child seen by a doctor within an hour of arriving on the unit but during busy times this is not always possible.
Your child will then be seen by a junior doctor and sometimes by a medical student. They will ask you some questions, examine your child and may start some medicines or take blood tests. Your child will then need to be seen by a Paediatric registrar or Consultant. They may or may not arrange further tests or treatment and will decide on a further plan of action. This may take some time so please be patient.
The CAT unit has a waiting area for families and numerous beds where children are examined. Within the unit there is a high care area (stabilization area) called ‘PUMA’ (Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment) where very sick children are managed and stabilized. If your child is very unwell they may be placed here. This area is also used for doing blood tests and other procedures.
Your child will have one of three outcomes:
1. They may be observed for a bit longer on the unit before a final decision is made
2. They may be admitted to the in-patient ward. A nurse will then take you and your child to the ward when a bed becomes available. This may take a while during busy times so please be patient.
3. They may be discharged home. You will be given a discharge letter and, if appropriate, a prescription for medicines for your child.