There is no question that children and adolescents have different needs, especially when it comes to their health. Whether discussing the importance of vaccinations, necessary preventive care or choosing an emergency department when an unexpected illness or injury occurs, knowing the medical staff has been specifically trained to care for children provides an extra layer of comfort for parents and caregivers.

In recent years, Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has been intensely focused on enhancing pediatric services offered to children in its service area. In 2020, PMC opened the Appalachian Valley Autism (AVA) Center and brought life-changing therapy options that had not previously been offered for children on the autism spectrum in Eastern Kentucky. In late 2021, the medical center celebrated the opening of the region’s only children’s hospital, which allowed many children requiring inpatient medical care to be treated closer to home and their families.

During this period, many other departments at PMC were also undergoing intense training related to specialized pediatric medical care.  The PMC Emergency Department (ED) is certified as “pediatric ready,” and was one of only four emergency departments in the state with that designation at the time of certification. As part of PMC’s emphasis on enhancing pediatric care, a dedicated “pediatric wing” was developed in the emergency department that offers a separate treatment area designed to calm and comfort the youngest and most vulnerable patients in need of emergency care. The ED at Pikeville Medical Center also made headlines when it became the first emergency department in Kentucky to earn the designation as a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

“We know children have unique needs, especially when it comes to emergency medicine,” explained Dale Morton, Executive Director of the PMC Emergency Department. “When our staff was presented with the opportunity to receive specialized training for pediatric patients, they didn’t hesitate. We are proud to have the training, equipment and dedicated space these patients need when they are brought into our hospital.”

In addition to the emergency department, the Mettu Children’s Hospital and PMC Pediatric Clinic have each earned the designation of a Certified Autism Center.