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Children’s Unit Matures Sacred Heart Medical Center Completes $3 Million Renovation Of Its Pediatric Services Unit

Sun., March 8, 1998

The patients on this hospital floor are most comfortable with Dr. Seuss.

And the new pediatric services unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center looks something like a children’s book, with splashy colors, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too.

The new unit will open Monday. The $3 million renovation pulled together the highest technology, increased the number of children’s beds and tried to make the floor more user-friendly.

“My real goal was getting a space that really could feel different than everyplace else, so the kid space would be different,” said Susan Stacey, pediatric nurse manager.

On Friday, the floor held an open house. Doctors and staff members walked around the floor. Also checking out the new rooms were relatives of child patients, currently housed on another floor.

Bob Seipp wheeled his 4-year-old daughter, Alex, down the halls. She’s been in the pediatric intensive-care unit for about 10 days.

“It’s a whole lot more efficient,” Seipp said. “It looks like they could take more personal care of the kids.”

Like a gangly adolescent, the unit has grown too big for its quarters. There hasn’t been a major renovation in 24 years. This remodeling, under way for the past year and a half, increased the pediatrics area from about half the third floor to three-quarters.

A team of nurses, management, doctors, staff members and families helped design the unit. It increases the number of children’s beds from 36 to 45. The intensive-care unit can hold 20 children, instead of 15.

There are also two isolation rooms, which can be used for very contagious children or immune-suppressed children. Before, those children had to be cared for in an adult unit.

The new unit offers kidney dialysis, a new procedure room for outpatients and closed-circuit monitoring of ICU patients. And there are four mini-nurse stations, which allow nurses to be closer to their patients.

For the first time, teenagers in the unit will have their own play room. The teen lounge features video games and a computer.

For the younger set, there’s a play area, called the “Ouchless Zone,” where kids can play with toys like a magnetic sandbox. Children also have final say over which adults can enter the room.

“It’s really got that new-car smell, doesn’t it?” said nurse Stacey, flipping open a recently painted cabinet door.

That didn’t stop Christopher Raymond, 5, who toured the floor with his mother, Caroline. The two were picking up Christopher’s 10-month-old sister, who was being released from the unit after recovering from pneumonia.

“Hey, look at the toys,” said Christopher, leaping into the play room. “Hey, Mom, look!”

Seconds later, he realized the unit wasn’t really open yet.

“Where are all the people?” he asked.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo


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