Seattle Children’s Opens New Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Unit

Optimized-BuildingHopeExpansionSeattle Children’s Hospital recently opened the Building Hope Expansion, an addition to its main campus, which includes a cancer unit designed for teens and young adult patients. This section of the addition has 16 new beds where patients will have access to age-specific amenities.

For example, patients in the new Adolescent and Young Adult cancer unit will be able to visit a therapy gym, patient lounge, and a rooftop terrace. The individual rooms are patient-centered, meaning that patients receive care from multi-disciplinary teams, which include psychologists. The age-specific unit also lets teens interact with their peers rather than receive care alongside children that are younger than they are.

In total the addition will add 80 more beds to the hospital. The design, which took three years to plan, is a result of input from an advisory board made up of staff members as well as current and former patients. Each room is private in order to reduce the risk of infection and to provide more comfort to patients and their families.

The rooms also let patients access GetWellNetwork’s GetWell Town, an interactive entertainment system. Patients can watch movies, access the Internet and hook up game consoles like Wii, Xbox, and PlayStation. Additionally GetWell Town serves as a care manager through which staff can introduce educational videos and initiate a care plan.

Within the past decade or so, hospitals have been giving more credence to the role of good design in hospitals. Joe Flower is on the board of the Center for Health Design, which was founded to bring research to architecture and building planning. In a blog post for Hospitals and Health Networks, he discussed why investments in these details pay off. He wrote:

Evidence-based design is more expensive on the front end. For instance, it calls for single-patient rooms, and larger ones; far better ventilation than usual; fully integrated headwalls and patient lifts; patient rooms with a view of nature and a daybed for the family caregiver; and a host of other refinements. But the fewer accidents, shorter patient stays, fewer infections and other outcome improvements pay for the refinements over a relatively short period of time.

Seattle Children’s Hospital seems to be on board with the idea. Building Hope’s next step is to open the expanded emergency department, which will officially be taking patients starting tomorrow.

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