Improving Management of Pediatric Dehydration in the Emergency Department


Although dehydration assessment tools existed, most were considered too complicated for use; clinicians traditionally relied on their intuition when evaluating the level of dehydration in children in hospital emergency departments. Inaccurate assessment can potentially result in suboptimal treatment decisions, added costs, unnecessary laboratory tests, and mismanagement of nursing time.

JumpStart in Action

Pediatric Dehydration Algorithm

JumpStart convened a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) to gather evidence-based knowledge into an algorithm that could be easily incorporated into hospital practice and adopted for use in emergency departments. JumpStart’s scientific staff translated the technical algorithm into a point-of-care assessment with illustrations and explanatory text describing proper technique.

Nurses Roundtable

JumpStart developed a full day training workshop to educate a group of nurses about the issue of subcutaneous rehydration including the medical rationale, devices, techniques, and challenges. The workshop included cases, interactive video, and a simulation exercises held at the STRATUS Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.   

Making a Difference

The redesigned, easy-to-use dehydration assessment tool was distributed to hospitals nationwide, enabling clinicians to better assess pediatric dehydration and make informed treatment decisions. The nurses who were trained during the Simulation Workshop program subsequently trained additional nurses as Change Champions in their own institutions. 

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