The New Orleans Children’s Hospital now serves as one of the best childcare destinations in the country following the completion of a $ 300 million campus expansion project.
The 17-acre hospital complex includes, among other changes, more than 230,000 square feet of new clinical care facilities, a 57,000 square foot pediatric surgery center, a 35,000 square foot intensive care unit and a garage for 600 vehicles. There is also a new 51-bed Behavioral Health Center, which houses the only psychiatric program in the Gulf Coast region that addresses the mental health needs of children and adolescents in crisis.
“Completing the $ 300 million expansion of our campus marks a new day for children’s health in Louisiana,” said John R. Nickens IV, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. “Most exciting is what this next chapter means for the children and families we serve. Together with our academic partners from LSU Health New Orleans and Tulane University School of Medicine, we are ready to meet the health challenges facing our children and communities by offering the highest levels of pediatric care right here in Louisiana.
Jonathan Brouk, chief operating officer of the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, said one of the biggest themes of the proposal was focusing on both patients and families.
“Parents and carers are an integral part of treatment in pediatric care, so it was important to design areas that are very suitable for the family,” he said. “The hospital has evolved organically, but this was the first time we’ve thought about what is needed globally for the entire organization and the families we serve.”
Beetle said the next major goal was to improve the premises that support some of the New Orleans Children’s Hospital’s signing programs. The result was the construction of 12 new operating theaters with state-of-the-art technology, an expanded space for the treatment of burn patients, dedicated rooms for mini-invasive procedures and a new cardiac JIS with 28 beds. Other improvements include a brand new, expanded emergency room with two special trauma rooms and an eight-room behavioral health module.
“We recently confirmed that we have become a second-degree children’s trauma center, so children will start coming right here after serious accidents. We wanted to build operating rooms that would support it, “said Brouk. “Our incineration services will be a huge benefit to Louisiana families because their closest options were previously Galveston or Atlanta. And our heart center is one of our distinctive programs. It’s an incredibly difficult job and we needed to make sure they had the right resources and space. “
Beetle said he was also proud of the new Comprehensive Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, which will expand the hospital’s nationally recognized hematology and oncology program. The Children’s Hospital is the only accredited pediatric facility in the country with the largest and most experienced group of pediatric oncology specialists in the region.
“Previously, we had inpatient and outpatient hematology oncology services on different sides of the hospital, so the child and his family sometimes had to go to two completely separate parts of the building,” Brouk said. “Now it’s all in one place, so the family can stay in one environment.”
The renovations have also led to a different aesthetic in the whole area, which emphasizes the overall wellness. It is possible to see and feel the motifs of nature and music in the whole building. There are rooms for meditation, recessed seating for quiet thinking or reading, and custom-made artwork by local artists.
“The design features expansive glass that allows for plenty of natural light and spacious open spaces that are part of the care experience,” said Brandon Kristol, the hospital’s operations director and project manager. “When patients are recovering, we don’t want them to feel like they’re still in isolation.”
Kristol said he was particularly pleased with the new Child Life Center, which includes playrooms where patients can spend time with their siblings and engage in activities such as games or filming as if they were at home. There is also a family resource center, which Kristol said is similar to a business center and allows parents to work remotely or deal with other responsibilities as needed with easy access to hospital support services.
“We wanted to create spaces for families where things can feel normal even in difficult times,” he explained.
Kristol said that to help families navigate the vast area, there are three fully occupied entrances for patients with different needs. There is a main entrance, one by the lower pavilion, which leads to specialized dispensaries and a third to the emergency room.
“When we think of New Orleans, we mean a place known for its hospitality. We want patients and families to have the same experience in our hospital, “said Kristol. “Our team is committed to helping patients and families navigate the campus and lend a warm hand to the right person in the department they need.”
Although the project is complete, Beetle said there are still some new initiatives on the way. The historic building on the hospital grounds is currently being renovated and converted into a Ronald McDonald House with 22 apartments for patients’ families. And in partnership with the non-profit Kids Join The Fight, Children’s Hospital New Orleans will build a $ 10 million children’s center at the Children’s Enrichment Center, which will be similar to an interactive children’s museum.
“I think investing in this campus is one of the big stories of New Orleans’ economic development over the past few years,” Brouk said. “We have recruited around 100 top doctors from across the country, largely because of the resources we provide. We have great academic partnerships. We have achieved a lot, but in some ways we feel we are only at the beginning – all with a vision to improve the health of the next generation. “