Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU)

Welcome to the Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU)

What is PAU?

The PAU is an emergency assessment unit for children and young people where they can referred by their GP, Midwife, Health Visitor, Urgent Care Centre (UCC) and/or the Paediatric Emergency Department (PED).

The Unit provides a rapid assessment of children and young people and aims where clinically possible to assess, treat and discharge home in a short space of time. Children and young people are admitted under the care of a consultant paediatrician who will ensure that the appropriate assessment and care is given.

What to expect during your visit

The nursing staff on PAU aim to complete an initial assessment of your child or young person within 15 minutes of arrival to the unit. At times this may not be possible if for example a lot of people have arrived in a short space of time.

If you are worried your child has deteriorated please inform the nurse.

On assessment you will be asked lots of questions to ensure you are seen in a reasonable amount of time. This often means you are not seen in the order you arrives as other children may need to be seen before you if their condition is more serious.

You will be seen by a member of the medical team usually within one hour of arrival.  At this point any tests, investigations or treatment will be started.

The results of most tests we carry out will be available within a few hours and will help the medical and nursing staff make decisions with you about what care is needed.

You will also require a period of observation before being discharged home. The PAU is not an inpatient ward, although sometimes children will stay overnight for a longer period of assessment. The PAU is a busy environment. For this reason we ask that you supervise your child at all times, especially in the play and waiting area.

If we feel you will not be able to be assessed and treated quickly or you do not respond to initial treatment then you may need to be admitted to a Paediatric Ward for ongoing care.

Going home from PAU

The PAU is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and treats a large number of children. Therefore it is essential once your treatment is complete you are able to leave the department and continue the care of your child or young person at home.

If you are unable to arrange your own transport home, please ensure that the staff are aware of this as early as possible to allow us time to assist your with this if required.

Once you leave the PAU you will be given a discharge information leaflet. This will have a brief summary of your visit including why you attended, what treatment has been given and any further advice or treatment we would like you to continue at home.

The discharge leaflet also gives advice on what to look out for in your child once at home including any signs that your child is becoming more unwell.

Some children will need to be seen again by the paediatric team following discharge. For this purpose you may be asked to see your GP or receive and appointment to see a paediatrician in our Rapid Access Clinic (RAC).

Some children and young people will be asked to attend the PAU or RAC for on-going treatment such as dressings or the administration of medications.

All children and young people who attend our hospital automatically have a referral made to their Health Visitor or School Nurse and their GP. This information is usually made available for them within 48 hours of your visit.


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