American Family Children's Hospital Opens New Pediatric Surgical Pavilion

With surgical scissors in hand, patients and staff cut the ribbon last September to mark the opening of the new Pediatric Surgical Pavilion at American Family Children's Hospital.

The surgical area, on the third floor of American Family Children's Hospital, is the newest addition to the building. With six operating rooms, two procedures rooms and 30 pre-surgery beds, the surgical pavilion is a state-of-the-art facility with the latest in operating room design and technology. On September 22, 2008, the first procedure was completed.

Not Just Little Adults

"Children are not little adults," says Dennis Lund, MD, chief of pediatric surgery. "They have a completely separate set of diseases and responses to their diseases, not to mention different social and emotional needs."

The Pediatric Surgical Pavilion, like American Family Children's Hospital, was built with three principles in mind, according to Lund. Children should be cared for by medical staff specially trained in the needs of pediatric patients and their diseases. Whenever possible, pediatric patients should be separated in their care from that of adults in a facility specially designed to meet their needs. And parents and families should be able to be with their children as much as possible. "We've become a leader in patient-centered care because of our belief in those principles," says Lund.

Reflecting the patient-centered care provided by American Family Children's Hospital, every aspect of the surgical pavilion is intended to make patients comfortable and relaxed even as they face potentially stressful procedures. When patients arrive for a procedure they are brought into the Pre-Op/Post-Op unit along with their family. In one of 30 private rooms, nurses check their vitals, prepare an IV and talk with patients and families about their surgery and what to expect.

While they wait for the surgery, patients and their siblings can go to the Child Life Playroom where a child life specialist helps them find age-appropriate toys and offer ways to cope with the surgery.

Once the surgery is ready to begin, parents can accompany their child to the operating room where they can stay and comfort him or her at the start of anesthesia administration.

After surgery, children are brought to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, or PACU. A nurse stays at the bedside to ensure the child's safety and comfort as he or she wakes from anesthesia. Parents can join their children at this time as well.

The surgical services provided in the new pavilion include general surgery, urology, GI, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, and plastic and thoracic surgery. An estimated 4,060 surgical procedures will be performed at American Family Children's Hospital each year.