The Virginia Emergency Medical Services for Children (VA EMSC) program was established in 1996 and has resided in the Virginia Department of Health (Office of EMS, Division of Trauma/Critical Care) since 2007. The program aims to improve pediatric emergency care capabilities at all levels—prehospital, hospital, acute care, rehabilitation—within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
EMSC works to reduce child and youth disability and death due to severe illness or injury. Its goals are to ensure that state-of-the-art emergency medical care is available for all ill or injured children and adolescents; that pediatric services are well integrated into an emergency medical services (EMS) system; and that the entire spectrum of emergency services, including primary prevention of illness and injury, acute care, and rehabilitation, are provided to children and adolescents in Virginia.
Children are NOT "little adults", and require specific skills related to assessment and emergency care, as well as specialized and specific types and sizes of emergency care equipment and supplies. Though children represent 25% of emergency department visits, and 10% of ambulance transports, emergency care providers at the prehospital and hospital levels actually see and care for very few children who are critically ill or injured. Generally, these providers are very uncomfortable caring for this small subset of patients, and often feel under-prepared when these children are encountered.