With lots of support from the community, the opening of the Della Penna Pediatric Center marked a new era in providing quality care for all members of the family, close to home. Here's a look at how that first year went.
Healing and having fun
From the very beginning, the Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center was not your typical hospital unit. For one thing, the walls are a vibrant yellow and the floor looks like a multi-colored hopscotch game. Young patients who are feeling better enjoy jumping from red square to blue square to green square.
For any given holiday, the nurses decorate the unit and sometimes even don costumes to brighten the day of a sick youngster. This month's theme is Halloween, and they're already having fun with not-too-spooky decorations.
There's a fully-stocked playroom, thanks to the generosity of the community and hospital Associates who have made sure the youngsters have plenty to keep them busy during their stay.
"They're not bored," said Kristina Christian RN, BSN, pediatric clinical nurse manager. "We encourage the patients to get up and go around the unit, to play or to do arts and crafts."
A well-stocked art cart is available for budding artists to express their creativity. Donated iPads are available for the patients and their young siblings.
Hospital Associates and community members alike create hand-made blankets and pillowcases, which the young patients can take with them when they leave the hospital.
Before leaving, there's a good chance a child will see one of the certified therapy dogs around the unit. Thanks to a partnership with Roxy Reading Therapy Dogs, the dogs and their volunteer handlers make regular visits to the unit to cheer up the young patients.
"The kids really love it," said Kristina. "They ask for the dogs to come visit."
Special patients, exceptional care
The dedicated staff of the Della Penna Pediatric Center cared for more than 300 young patients in the year since the unit opened at Doylestown Hospital in October 2014.
And they couldn't be happier.
"Morale on the floor is wonderful," said Kristina. "Everyone has input on how we can improve and everyone is really involved."
Dedicated pediatric specialists including hospitalists, nurse practitioners and nurses helped design and develop the unit from scratch. It was a true labor of love.
"It feels fantastic to reach the one-year mark," said lead pediatric hospitalist Jason Komasz, MD." I feel we have done a great deal to help the sick children of our area."
The Della Penna staff treated patients ranging in age from infants to 18-year-olds. The most common reasons for hospitalization were pneumonia, appendicitis, dehydration, asthma and bronchiolitis (a common illness of the respiratory tract caused by a virus).
It's a relatively small unit with six private rooms, so patients and parents are the center of attention.
"We have more time for talking with and teaching parents," said Kristina. "We have time to spend to create those special moments."
Della Penna Center associates continue to nurture the center and develop stronger ties with the community.
"We are always looking to find ways to improve our care," said Dr. Komasz."In addition, we hope to expand our outreach into the community this year."
Doylestown Health opened its first exhibit in the Bucks County Children's Museum in May and hospital Associates continue to offer educational programs there. Learn more about "Hospital" by Doylestown Health.
Doylestown Health will produce its second season of Health Matters on CBTV, bringing experts to the table for discussions about a variety of health and wellness issues important to families.
Find a Pediatrician Near You
By posting on the Dialogue Online blog, I understand and agree that my comments will be reviewed and may be removed if they are libelous or otherwise illegal, or contain abusive, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate material. Please do not share personal health or financial information on the blog. I also understand that my comments will be available for view by the public and may be copied, stored, reproduced or disclosed by a third party for any use. For more information, please review the Doylestown Hospital's commenting guidelines.