Initially, the mere appearance, breathing and color should alert the healthcare team a child is sick. The Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course emphasizes this concept.
Next, the healthcare provider must then determine if a child has a Respiratory or a Circulatory Problem. In fact, most children will have a respiratory problem. In general, a child with a respiratory problem will demonstrate tachypnea coupled with an increased effort to breath. Consequently, a child with a respiratory problem may require supplemental oxygen. On the other hand, a child displaying a Circulatory Problem is an ominous sign. In this case, a child with a circulatory problem will have an increased heart rate plus poor skin color. Therefore, a child with a circulatory problem will require a fluid bolus.
Moreover, once the healthcare provider has determined the problem to be either respiratory or circulatory then it must further be categorized.
For example, a respiratory problem is categorized as Upper Airway, Lower Airway, Lung Tissue disease, or Disordered Control of Breathing. On the other hand, A circulatory problem is categorized as Hypovolemic, Distributive, Cardiogenic, also Obstructive shock. Indeed, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or PALS proves to be a complicated course. Notably, Nurses Educational Opportunities PALS class takes the fear out of caring for a sick child.