The Prehospital Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs
There is an ever-growing population of children with special health care needs ranging from children with pervasive developmental disorders to technology-dependent children. The prehospital provider, local emergency medical services agencies, and the state and federal entities involved in the prehospital care of children require focused programs to ensure safe and effective care and transport of these children. This article discusses the key factors involved in the prehospital care of these children including the use of registries to identify these patients in the community, the use of caregivers and emergency information forms as resources, and the existence of specialized training programs to educate prehospital providers about the special care needs of this population. Additional discussion includes the importance of medical homes for these children and special considerations regarding their transport. Finally, we will discuss the issues that arise in this community during a disaster and show how all the previously discussed aspects of care can be integrated into a comprehensive disaster plan.