Youngsters Find Comfy Home for Recovering
Young patients at Avera St. Luke’s are staying in a newly renovated Pediatric Unit, now located on the hospital’s Third Floor South T-Wing. Ten patient rooms and a playroom with two doors – one regular height and the other sized for tinier guests – have been remodeled with a kid-friendly, woodlands theme.
Unique, wooden animal murals line the hallway, designed and painted by Aberdeen artists Nick and Nicole Fischer in the wing’s color scheme of tangerine, turquoise and lime green. Youngsters are welcomed by a baby bear, owl, birds, flowers and other animals. Each patient room has a brightly painted accent wall. New window curtains and divider curtains, plus comfy upholstered chairs, have been added to give the rooms a bright, cheery look. A big advantage of the move to the new wing is every patient room is equipped with a private bathroom, including a shower. Kids are enjoying the bigger TVs and DVD player in each room, too. They can also bring toys from the playroom back to their own room.
“Play is their work,” said Fran Albrecht, nurse manager of the Pediatrics Unit, which handles patients from a few days old to age 18. “They need to be able to do normal things to get well. Play is their routine.”
Even the treatment room has toys and stuffed animals – and kids get a special prize for handling whatever the doctors and nurses need to do there to help them get better.
Avera St. Luke's Foundation helped fund the cost of televisions for patient rooms, the new waiting room leather sofa and recliner, and artwork for the hallway and patient rooms to make this working and caring environment so appealing to young patients and their families.
Specialists in pediatric care
Avera St. Luke’s offers a comprehensive package of services specializing in the care of the young, such as full-time local pediatricians, surgeons with many years of experience working with young children, and speech, physical and occupational therapy. Treatment is provided for acute and chronic conditions, disabilities and other complex problems. Outpatients are treated in the Pediatrics Unit too, since “they’re best taken care of by nurses used to working with kids,” Albrecht said. “Kids aren’t just mini-adults.” She’s continually amazed by a child’s ability to heal and recover quickly, reasons why she likes working in pediatric care.
“Our goal is to focus on caring for kids and their families in an environment that promotes healing,” Albrecht said. Parents are welcome to stay overnight, and even encouraged to snuggle together in bed with their sick child. “We respect and value any information shared with us by the parents, as they know their child best.”
To get to the new unit
Visitors can still use Avera St. Luke's West Visitor Entrance and go straight ahead to the visitor elevators to make the trip up to the third-floor Pediatric Unit.