Building Better Care
Cincinnati Children’s has taken family-centered care to new heights.
In December, the medical center opened a new six-story outpatient facility at 3430 Burnet Avenue, just down the street from the main hospital. But this isn’t just any building. Everything about it – from the attached garage, to the spacious hallways to the kiosks for quick patient check-in – was designed with patients and their families in mind.
The goal: to bring children with special needs and their families the best possible care.
The building is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication of many, including Cincinnati Children’s staff, patient families and community members. Parent focus groups were instrumental in helping to form the new facility, and their suggestions are evident throughout the building.
Unique Design to Meet Unique Needs
The spacious, state-of-the-art facility is the new home for several programs, including the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (DDBP), the Kelly O’Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Thomas Center for Down Syndrome, speech pathology, occupational and physical therapy, select audiology clinics and the Rubinstein Library, a resource center that provides reference materials for parents and developmentally appropriate books and toys for kids.
The children cared for by these programs have a variety of conditions that require frequent visits and specialized care for their unique medical and physical challenges. Many patients are in wheelchairs, some have difficulty communicating and others have extreme sensory issues such as sensitivity to light or sound. The 3430 Burnet Avenue building was designed specifically to meet the needs of these patients, to help them feel more relaxed, and to help alleviate the challenges parents face in coordinating ongoing care for their children.
“In the planning stage, we toured facilities all over the country and made note of the best elements we saw,” says David Schonfeld, MD, director of DDBP. “We put them all together to create a high-quality, state-of-the-art place for evaluation and care of our patients.”
The extra-wide corridors accommodate children using wheelchairs, and treatment and exam rooms are larger now. The flooring patterns and signage make it easy to find your way around the building. For those who need a subdued atmosphere, partitions in the waiting rooms give families privacy and a quieter area to wait for their appointment. And many walls are carpeted, providing sound insulation for a more peaceful environment.
Calming colors and natural light create a warm and inviting space. Walls are decorated with photos of real patients coupled with quotes from Marianne Richmond’s children’s book, Hooray for You!. And community children created additional artwork, framed and displayed in corridors and exam rooms.
“The Hooray for You! theme sends a very positive message to the children who come here,” says Ann Kummer, senior clinical director for the Division of Speech Pathology. “It’s all about celebrating each child’s uniqueness.”
Sonya Sanders first brought her son Joshua, now 7, to Cincinnati Children’s for care when he was just 1 day old. Joshua was born with Down syndrome and a hole in his heart. Today, he and his mom travel from Dayton for visits to the Thomas Center for Down Syndrome and weekly speech therapy sessions.
“The care at Cincinnati Children’s is phenomenal,” Sonya says. “The people here love the children. They understand Joshua’s needs and they understand you as a parent. The new facility is a wonderful extension of that caring – another way that the hospital has gone above and beyond for children and their families.”
Many of the families cared for in the new building visit at least once or twice a week – and sometimes more often. The everyday stressors for these families can be difficult enough. Add to that the pressure of having to coordinate and attend visits with multiple doctors or clinics in different locations, and you have a situation that can be physically and emotionally draining for the children and the adults who care for them.
“The new building is an improvement in many ways,” says Dr. Schonfeld. “Previously, all of my departments were spread over the different Cincinnati Children’s locations. Having all of the division under one roof makes it much easier to provide better care for our patients.”
Gracie Egan, 6, and her little brother, Gideon, 3, have physical therapy at Cincinnati Children’s. Gideon also has occupational therapy. Gracie loves zooming across the zip line or trying to climb one of the rock walls during her therapy sessions, just two of the many therapeutic tools in the new facility that bring fun and laughter to the children’s medical care.
Their mother, Jackie Egan, appreciates that the design, the building and the staff allow children to be children even when facing tough medical or physical challenges. She is also pleased that the new facility makes things easier for parents and the kids.
“It is nicer because the parking garage is connected to the building, which means less walking. The facility also has more individual rooms providing more privacy for the children,” Jackie says. “Cincinnati Children’s values its patients and families and wants to ensure that we get the best possible care. And it shows in every corner of this facility.”
Fifth Third Asset Management Supports Cincinnati Children’s
Important improvement projects such as the new 3430 Burnet Avenue building at Cincinnati Children’s provide enhanced services and improved family-centered care for children and families. These achievements would not be possible without generous donors, like Fifth Third Asset Management (FTAM).
“The decision to support Cincinnati Children’s was an easy one,” says Keith Wirtz, president and chief investment officer at FTAM, a diversified asset management firm and subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp headquartered in Cincinnati. “Cincinnati Children’s has impacted so many people. Most of our employees have children, and many of them have used the services there, including my own family. We’ve always had the best experiences.”
For three years in a row, FTAM has been the lead sponsor for Sample, Savor and Support, an event that supports the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (DDBP). FTAM also supports other annual events benefiting Cincinnati Children’s, including Cincinnati Walks for Kids and the Celestial Ball. By supporting the medical center, FTAM and its employees have made a meaningful impact on the health of children.
“We’re really blessed to have an institution like Cincinnati Children’s,” Wirtz says. “It’s a true asset to our community.”
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