Emergency Preparedness for
Children with Special Health Care Needs

Dear Colleague:

It is with great pleasure that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians present the Emergency Information Form (EIF) (Adobe Acrobat PDF File). This important document represents the culmination of years of work on the part of both organizations to create a tool that will assure prompt and appropriate care for Children with Special Health Care Needs. Now, when these patients present to emergency departments or health care professionals with an acute illness or injury, physicians, parents, EMS professionals, and nurses will be able to use the EIF as a tool to transfer critical information.

The development and promulgation of the EIF is an exciting demonstration of the positive accomplishments that AAP and ACEP can achieve when working together. Policy statements espousing the use of the EIF have been written by ACEP�s Pediatric Emergency Medicine Committee and AAP�s Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine. These policy statements and the EIF have been simultaneously printed in the October 1999 issues of the Annals of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics to further demonstrate our combined support of this important initiative.

Both organizations felt that it was important to create the EIF because children with special needs frequently present to the emergency department and other health care sites with no information describing their medical history, physical findings, and important unique management requirements. In addition, their specialty provider may not be available for immediate consultation with the health professionals caring for them.

The EIF will ensure that a child�s complicated medical history is concisely summarized and available when it is needed most - when the child presents with an acute health problem at a time when neither parent nor pediatrician is immediately available.

When we first conceived of the idea of an EIF, we knew that to be truly effective an emergency data set or form would have to be available at all times in all locations. That means a central repository has to be available 24 hours a day so health care professionals can retrieve the needed information. MedicAlert® Foundation, a nonprofit 501c(3) organization that disseminates medical identification bracelets internationally, has been a strong proponent of the EIF concept from the beginning and has agreed to serve as that central repository for any child who registers with its program. With the EIF on file at the MedicAlert® 24 Hour Emergency Call Center, that information will be faxed anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night.

Without MedicAlert® Foundation�s support we would not have been able to initiate this project. We would also like to recognize the important contributions of the other proponents and supporters of this project, including the National Association of Children�s Hospitals and Related Institutions, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau�s Emergency Medical Services for Children program, the National Association of EMS Directors, the Emergency Nurses Association, the National Association of State EMS Directors, the National Association of School Nurses, the National Association of EMS Physicians, the American Pediatric Association, the Society of Pediatric Nurses, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The form can be easily disseminated by making copies from samples in the printed packet, in our journals issued in October 1999, or from our Web sites (www.aap.org, www.acep.org). Since our goal is to have widespread use of the form, the Boards of AAP and ACEP have placed it in the public domain so that it may be freely copied and distributed.

Please review the enclosed materials. After you become familiar with them, we hope that you agree that the EIF is an important new tool that will help facilitate the transfer of relevant information for Children with Special Health Care Needs. If you need further information or guidance, please contact ACEP�s Elaine Jastram at (800) 798-1822, ext 3140, or ejastram@acep.org, or AAP�s Sue Tellez at (800) 433-9016, ext 7395, or stellez@aap.org.

Sincerely,

John Moorhead, MD, FACEP
President
American College of Emergency Physicians
Joel Alpert, MD, FAAP
President
American Academy of Pediatrics

Michael Gerardi, MD, FAAP, FACEP
Chairperson
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Committee
American College of Emergency Physicians
Robert Wiebe, MD, FACEP, FAAP
Chairperson
Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine
American Academy of Pediatrics