Being admitted to the Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU)
Sometimes, if you're feeling unwell, you need to be seen quickly. Your GP might have asked you to come to the hospital, or you might have been brought into the emergency department. If this happens, you might need to be seen by the children’s Doctors and Nurses in the Paediatric Assessment Unit. This is a special area of the Children’s Centre that assesses children and teenagers and tries to work out if you need any treatment.
When you come into the unit, you will be seen by a children’s nurse within 15 minutes . This is called triage. They will also weigh you by and they will check your observations. Your temperature is taken by putting a small probe in your ear which beeps - it doesn’t hurt and is very quick. Your heart rate is taken by the nurse holding your wrist and counting your pulse. We use a special machine to take your blood pressure and use a cuff a bit like an arm band which we place on the top of your arm- it squeezes a bit tight and then slowly goes down. We might also check your blood oxygen levels by putting a small probe onto your finger which is a bit like a peg. It doesn’t hurt but just feels a bit funny. Try and relax and all these observations will be taken quickly. The nurse will then decide how quickly you need to be seen by the Doctor. This could be:
- Green – Non-Urgent – seen within 4 hour from triage
- Amber – Urgent - seen within 1 hour from triage
- Red – Immediate - seen immediately
The sickest children and teenagers are seen first. Whilst you are waiting to see the Doctor, sometimes you might need some medicine to help you, or the nurse might need to so some investigations such as collect a urine sample. Don’t worry- the nurse or health care assistant will show you what to do and you can always ask for help if you need it. Sometimes, it can be a wait to see the Dr, so you might want the play team to visit you and offer you some ideas to keep you busy whilst you are waiting, for example craft activities or listening to music.
When the Doctor sees you, they might listen to your chest with their stethoscope, or feel your stomach, use an opthalmoscope in your ears, or use a light to look at your throat. Don’t worry, they don’t hurt, but they do feel a bit uncomfortable. Try and sit as still as possible and they will be over more quickly. The Doctor might decide that you need to be seen by another Doctor, or that you can go home, or that you need to be admitted to the ward to stay overnight.
If you can go home, you might need to take some special medicine home to continue there. Try and follow any instructions you are given , and listen to your adult when they are carrying out the hospital instructions at home. We know this can be difficult, but it will hopefully get you better quickly.
If you need to come into hospital for the night, don’t worry- our ward is fun! Your adult can stay right by you all night so you don’t have to be on your own if you don’t want to be. If your adult can’t stay with you, there are always lots of friendly nurses and healthcare assistants that stay awake all night to make sure that you are safe and well whilst you spend the night in hospital.