Sacred Heart Medical Center's emergency room is undergoing an $18 Million makeover that includes a new waiting area for adults, but the biggest change is for the kids.
"From an efficiency standpoint, from a patient flow standpoint, having more space to spread out and be comfortable in your own environment is really beneficial," Nurse Manager Sarah Lambert said.
Each year about 76,000 thousand people visit Sacred Heart's ER, 18,000 of them are kids. The new 20,000 square foot addition is designed just for them.
"All brand new, 18 rooms very large and spacious in size," Lambert said.
If your kid breaks a bone or gets the flu, there is a separate waiting and treatment area.
"The ability for them to be able to come into their own lobby, much more kid friendly environment, and then go back to the Peds room is a much smoother transition for them," Lambert said.
When you are inside the space, you don't feel like you're in a typical lobby. It has lots of room for kids to move, complete with a fish tank and TV area.
"This environment is much more kid friendly than what our families have currently been experiencing when they come in with kids, up until now they have had to check in with the adult lobby and a lot of that is really scary and overwhelming for a young child," Lambert said.
The hospital has thought of everything! Inside each room, the cords are tucked in the wall - so the kids won't play with them. They also have kiddie-size toilets.
On the second floor, they've built a Kid's Club House so the siblings of the patients have a place to play! Right next to it is a Serenity Room where patients and their families can find peace and relax.
"This is a dream that has been in the works for the last 10 years so it's really phenomenal to see it finally come forward," Lambert said.
The entire project was jump started by a $3-Million donation from the Rypien Foundation. Former NFL star Mark Rypien lost his son to cancer back in 1998. 15 years later, he's helping to make the hospital more warm and inviting for local families.
The new pediatric ER officially opens up on Jan. 2 at 7 a.m.