Children's Assessment Unit (CAU)
The Children's Assessment Unit (CAU) is a facility at the Jenny Lind Children's Hospital for the assessment and treatment of children who require urgent specialist care. The CAU has eight beds, one isolation room and one treatment room. There is also a waiting area with some play facilities for younger children, pictured below. The staff in CAU treat around 6,000 children a year.
Who is seen in CAU?
Children from birth to their sixteenth birthday referred by local GPs, Out of Hours centres, Accident and Emergency and, in some situations, midwives and health visitors are seen on CAU. Some children with serious and or chronic conditions have open access to the unit, when they have been authorised by their consultants.
The CAU is located just inside the Jenny Lind Children's Hospital entrance (reception desk is on the right and pictured below), on Level 2, West Block. The nearest car park is B. The area in front of the doors is for emergency ambulances only, but can be used for drop off, if your child is poorly.
Follow the picture of the windmill which takes you to the Children's Assessment Unit.
Click here for a location map of CAU.
The CAU is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
There may not be much time to consider what to bring with you if your child is sick, but it is important to bring their medicines and inhalers if at all possible. For younger children their favourite toy or comforter would be helpful.
Generally we see children in order of arrival, if, however, their condition warrants more immediate attention they may be seen out of order. We try our best to ensure that your child is seen by a nurse within 15 minutes and a doctor within an hour of arrival. However there might be times when this is not possible. Our experienced children's nurses will often be able to initiate appropriate treatment before the doctor sees you.
What happens next?
After being seen by the nurse and doctor you may be given some medicine, and you may have an x-ray or blood tests. We might want to keep you here for a few hours to see if your condition improves; where possible we aim to get children home (about 60% of children who attend).
All children admitted to CAU should have a parent with them at all times. Parents must take responsibility for any other children present, and during busy times the nurse in charge might restrict the number of relatives.
When your child is discharged from CAU, the doctor and nurse should have explained to you about your child's condition, any medications to be given at home, signs to look out for etc. We may offer 'open access'; this is like a safety net in case your child doesn't continue to improve and need to come back over a specified time - but we do ask that you phone first, you will be given our number. Sometimes follow up is arranged for your child to come to an out-patient clinic.
If you need to stay in hospital for treatment or observation overnight you will be transferred to Buxton Ward until you are better and ready to go home.
At all times please feel free to ask a professional if you do not feel things have not been explained properly or if you have any questions regarding any of the above.
We try and offer all the family a drink on arrival; of course this is not always possible when we are busy.
If you are with us for a few hours your child will be provided with lunch/tea, and the rest of the family can get food and drinks in the hospital restaurant. Baby food and infant formula may also be available
We only offer advice over the phone to families who currently have short or long-term open access. Other members of the public should contact NHS 111 by dialling 111 if seeking medical advice over the telephone.
Your child may be under the care of any of the paediatric or paediatric surgical consultants, and at times consultants from other specialties like Orthopaedics; Ear Nose and Throat; Plastic Surgery; Ophthalmology etc.
There are 2-3 experienced children's nurses per shift; most of our nurses are able to administer medicines to relieve pain and high temperatures as well as some inhalers, rehydrating drinks, magic cream etc.
We usually have two or three doctors on shift, one Senior House Officer and one or two Specialist Registrars. There is also dedicated consultant presence on CAU on three afternoons a week, provided by the recently appointed paediatric ambulatory consultants. Our doctors also cover the ward out-of-hours so may not be here all of the time.
In addition the team also has a senior healthcare assistant, receptionists and cleaners. Other professionals like dietitians, specialist nurses, physiotherapists and play specialists may visit as required.
At times there are student doctors, if you prefer them not to be present during an examination, please let the doctor or nurse know.
As part of an initiative to improve patient safety we have made significant changes to the way we work in the recent months and have already seen vast improvements in results and patient satisfaction. We continually audit our performance and make every effort to improve it.
From time to time we participate in research projects in paediatrics. If there is an ongoing research project that your child is eligible for participation, this will be fully explained to you by the responsible professional.
All treatment provided will be based on National or local (Trust) guidelines wherever available and appropriate.
There are baby changing facilities available in the Jenny Lind Outpatient Department, CAU and CDW for all visitors to the department to use.
If you require changing facilities for older children please approach a member of staff and they will source a suitable space for you to use. We are able to provide the use of a hoist should you require it.
We also have a hoist available to use which can weigh children who are unable to stand or sit on scales.
If you have any questions or concerns about the facilities or equipment available to you please approach a member of the nursing staff who will be very happy to assist you.