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The expectation during emergencies is that the care provided for adults is also appropriate for children. However, children have unique healthcare needs. In 2004, more than 25 percent (approximately 73 million) of the total U.S. population was under age 18. Of those 73 million, 20 million were under the age of 5. Although a significant proportion of children under age 18 may have a physiologic composition similar to that of adults, younger children have special requirements related to physical needs. Moreover, all children have unique mental health and psychosocial needs that should be considered during an emergency response effort. Given the large proportion of our population that requires pediatric-specific care, it is imperative that preparedness planning and disaster response specifically consider the special needs of children and the capacity needed to serve them. The purpose of this presentation is to provide relevant information related to children's needs during emergency or disaster events from both a clinical care and a public health planning perspective. The speakers will provide a brief overview of the needs of the pediatric population and the delivery system that specifically serves children; discuss experiences from recent disasters where resources for children were limited; and discuss efforts and potential solutions on the state, regional, and national levels.
- To identify unique needs associated with children before, during and after an emergency or disaster
- To describe the unique needs/resources of the pediatric care delivery system
- To discuss the experience of pediatric care providers during Hurricane Katrina
- To discuss areas for improvement related to the care of and planning for children's needs before, during and after an emergency or disaster