The thought of undergoing surgery is scary enough for an adult. Imagine what it’s like for a child. Stark white walls, cold empty hallways, and cramped waiting rooms are far from healing. As patients, a “home away from home” experience is what we want but it’s not always what we get. The people of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida are doing everything they can to make this experience a reality for children and their families.
What some may consider bells and whistles are just the essentials for Golisano: large televisions and gaming consoles in each room, iPads loaded with kid-friendly games and programs for patients to use, and sleeper sofas so that parents and caregivers can stay the night with their child. Not to mention, all patient rooms are private and designed in a way that nurses can supervise through windows, limiting both noise and interruptions.
“We encourage family-centered care by providing private rooms, including in the NICU. We also have a Ronald McDonald Family Room, which provides free on-the-go meals as well as free laundry services to families,” said Anna Stephanz, BS, CCLS, Certified Child Life Specialist at Golisano. “If a patient is hospitalized during their birthday or a holiday, our child life specialists create a celebratory environment for them.”
Upon arrival at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, children are greeted with a stuffed animal. When they get to their rooms, after admission, they get to choose the color of the LED light that lines their windows. Anyone driving by the hospital at night is treated to an ever-changing color pattern, specifically designed for them by the children receiving treatment at Golisano, with in-room LED lighting controlled by the children.
Golisano is more than a place where children get treated. It’s a place where children can feel empowered – where they get to choose. Before surgery, children can choose between four Power Wheel cars as their mode of transportation into the operating room. These cars are more than a novelty – they help ease young patients’ anxieties during separation from their parents.
On top of that, patients get to choose the style and color of their surgical cap. This is the product of a 22-year strong initiative called “Sew Angelic™” created by the caregivers at The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida (now Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida) more than 20 years ago. Through these keepsake caps, perioperative nurses can connect with young patients and help ease their fears. The hats made by Sew Angelic™ have made an incredibly positive impact on patients’ surgical experience to the point that children start looking for their caps upon admission.
From the creators of Sew Angelic™:
“The universally recognized symbol of a nurse is a cap, yet most nurses shed their caps long ago. Perioperative nurses, however, have retained a cap of sorts; our distinctive surgical caps. Through the Sew Angelic™ program, we share the surgical caps that symbolize our continued dedication to compassionate nursing care.”
“The children don’t choose to get sick or to come to the hospital. They do get to choose their surgical cap, the color of the bandage around their IVs, and how they enter the operating room, whether through a wagon or a racecar,” said Sandi Falk, BSN, RN, CNOR, co-creator of the Sew Angelic™ program.
In the most difficult of situations, Golisano has made every effort to allow kids to be kids, to help them cope, and to put their parents at ease. We couldn’t be more excited to name Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida as Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S.
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