Children with special health care needs are those who have, or are at risk for, chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and who also require health and related services of a type or amount not usually required by typically developing children. Formulation of an emergency care plan has been advocated by the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program through its Children With Special Heath Care Needs Task Force. Essential components of a program of providing care plans include use of a standardized form, a method of identifying at-risk children, completion of a data set by the child's physicians and other health care professionals, education of families, other caregivers, and health care professionals in use of the emergency plan, regular updates of the information, 24-hour access to the information by authorized emergency health care professionals, and maintenance of patient confidentiality.

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