The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a new policy statement aimed at improving patient safety for children who are directly admitted into a hospital without first receiving care through an emergency department.

The statement, “Direct Admission to Hospital for Children in the United States,” published in the March 2023 Pediatrics (online Feb. 27), observes that approximately 2 million children and adolescents are admitted to hospitals in the United States, with hospital care accounting for more than 40% of all pediatric healthcare expenditures.

The AAP Committee on Hospital Care, after reviewing research and conducting interviews with parents of hospitalized children, details how to balance the benefits of direct admission with potential patient safety concerns.

Communication with families and between healthcare providers helps ensure that the child’s care is consistent, that tests are not duplicated and that families are informed, according to the statement.

The recommendations call for:

  • developing direct admission written guidelines;
  • clear systems of communication between members of the health care team and with families;
  • triage systems to identify patient acuity and disease severity; and
  • identification of hospital resources needed to support direct admission systems of care.

The AAP also recommends consideration of patient populations that may be at increased risk of adverse outcomes during the hospital admission process.

Read the full AAP policy here.