A local health care provider says if you're a child and you have to be in the hospital, your stay should be as fun as possible.
"Take a big breath. Go. Good job."
They're any hospital's smallest patients. In an effort to make their stays as comfortable -- and fun -- as possible, this hospital is getting a face lift. Actually, it's more of a total transformation -- from hospital floor to "Alex Town."
The new nine-bed pediatric unit is being named after Alex the Cat -- the mascot at St. Alexius Children's Center. In Alex Town, each patient room will take on the look of a different storefront -- from fire station to toy store.
The current playroom will become the zoo with streaming video from a real zoo. "So our idea is to make it have a road running through the middle of the unit, a winding road, so it encourages them to get up and walk. Anytime you can encourage kids to be out and about, walking and moving, it really promotes healing," says Stephanie Goroski, R.N., Director of Women's and Children's Services, St. Alexius.
Each room will also have the latest technology -- from care delivery to gaming systems for the kids. "Every single room within the pediatric center can be utilized as a PICU -- a pediatric intensive care unit," says Kilee Harmon, Development Director, St. Alexius Foundation. "Research also shows that if you can provide distraction for kids, they heal so much better. It takes their mind off their illness. It takes their mind off their pain. So that's our goal with this too," says Goroski.
Even though a hospital stay is not much fun, it's the hope that Alex Town will help these smallest patients down the road to recovery. Says Harmon, "It's the babies. It's the children. They are the future of our communities."
St. Alexius expects to have their new Children's Unit ready by early Fall.
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