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New Hospital Blog : 1-11-11

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A “Show Stopper” Moment in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
by Trillium Hibbeln on 07/08/2010 at 2:40 PM

Today while touring the 8th floor pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), one of my colleagues exclaimed, "Wow! This will be a show-stopping moment for the opening events tours."

He is a veteran of 20 years experience in children's hospitals so I took this as more validation that the PICU truly is an amazing space. It is an incredible blend of high technology and high touch care and amenities. PICU Construction Progress

More than any area of the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, the PICU is personal for me.  As I've mentioned before, our daughter was born with a serious heart defect eight years ago which landed her in the children's hospital pediatric intensive care unit at 8 days old. After years of care and open heart surgery she is a healthy, active child.  That first night in the PICU was scary, but I will never forget one of the nurses who sat on the chair in the room and explained the situation to us until we understood. The caregivers in our critical care department have always provided wonderful, lifesaving care, and to think that they will now have an environment that matches their excellence is truly awe inspiring. 

There will be wonderful views of the sunrises and sunsets from the 16-foot high windows in each of the 24 patient rooms. Today, the construction and equipment leaders showed us how the rooms were designed so that the patient's bed can be arranged so the child can see out the window if they choose.  For some children who have to stay in the PICU, this will be a wonderful treat. There will also be accommodations for parents to sleep in, a bathroom in each room and family space on the unit. The array of patient monitoring and therapeutic equipment is similar to what you would see in an operating room.

It will be a great environment of healing for the most critically ill and injured children, and for those kids who will be recovering from major surgery. The new PICU is eight beds larger than the current PICU, which will be important during trauma season, and also during the busier winter months when we treat many children with respiratory problems.

The new PICU is personal for the staff who will be working there too. Since January 11, 2010 when we started the one year countdown to opening day, the PICU staff has been delivering cakes and cookies to the construction crew on the 11th of each month. I had to smile when a PICU manager shared this story with me. She was picking up a cake inscribed with the message: "counting down the days to 1-11-11" and the baker said: "That's the day of the opening of the new children's hospital, you must be very proud."

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