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Praise for a family-centered facility

February 09, 2011|By Sharon Raghavachary

Having a son with hydrocephalus means that we are frequent visitors to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Josh is often in the emergency room, when we suspect that there could be a problem with the shunt that drains the excess cerebrospinal fluid from his brain to his abdomen. He has regular MRIs, as well as appointments with physicians in various departments, such as neurosurgery, ophthalmology, urology, neurology and gastroenterology.

I am also on the Family Advisory Council at the hospital, so our family is very excited about the opening of the long-awaited new hospital facility.

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The Family Advisory Council was given a sneak peak at the new building last month and I was enormously impressed from the moment we stepped in the door. The new facility was built as a “Family-Centered Care Environment” and it’s obvious that the whole family was taken into account in the design.

The first stop on our tour was the new Family Resource Center, which will provide Internet access, reference materials and referrals to support groups. I could see that it will be a popular place for parents to learn more about their child’s illness or injury.

Right next door is the HBO Café, the new cafeteria, which opens out onto a play area created by Shane’s Inspiration. I have a feeling that these two spots will be Josh’s favorite parts of the hospital.

We visited a couple of the patient rooms, 85% of which are private. The rooms have double foldout daybeds that will allow both parents to stay overnight, and a bathroom with a shower.

During one of Josh’s hospital stays a few years ago, at the height of flu season, he was in a room with three other children. There was little privacy and it was quite noisy with several televisions blaring, families talking and staff periodically coming in.

Even at other times when Josh has been in rooms with only one other child, I’ve had to sleep (or not) on a less than comfortable chair-bed. The old rooms didn’t have family bathrooms, so parents had to use the restroom and shower down the hall.

The new family-centered rooms will mean that parents can get some rest and have more energy to help their child get better. For the child, it will mean that there will be space for their parents and siblings to be with them.

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