Our paediatric emergency department has created a new mascot for children with complex needs. George the octopus works in a similar way to the dementia butterfly – and helps staff to identify children who may need additional support.

Matron Anna McNeela explained: “When children have complex needs, they need to be seen as quickly as possible as waiting around can worsen any stress they are already under. We came up with the idea of a symbol that would help us identify children with extra needs so that they are prioritised.

“There is a mandatory field in the assessment area of iCLIP that asks if the child has suspected or confirmed complex needs. If you click yes, George – an orange octopus – will appear on that child’s notes to alert all staff involved in his or her care.”

Lisa Foweather, General Manager, brought George to life last weekend with a beautiful knitted version (pictured) and the team now plan to create a 3D George that meets infection control standards.

Anna added: “We have also created a sensory box with toys and objects and have installed distraction lights in the ceiling to help children who are anxious or distressed.”

The octopus was chosen as a mascot as each of its eight tentacles represent eight things to consider when caring for a child with complex needs, as advised by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath.

They are: 1) Emergency care plans, 2) Who is with the child? 3) Privacy, dignity and communication, 4) Systemic assessment and knowing what is usual for the child, 5) Weight, drugs and nutrition, 6) Safeguarding, 7) Longer term follow-up care and 8) End of life planning.

Well done to our ED paediatric team!