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Every 15 minutes in the United States a child is born with a heart defect. Little is known about the cause of the 40 different variations of ccongenital heart defects, and there is no known prevention or cure for any of them. The reality is that twice as many children die each year from congenital heart defects than from all forms of childhood cancer combined. But there is a team at Children's Hospital & Medical Center that has been working diligently for decades, using various approaches including medications, heart catheterizations, heart surgeries and more recently heart transplants, to improve those numbers. As the largest and most comprehensive pediatric and adult congenital cardiac center in the region, Children’s Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Heart Center has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a leader in Cardiology and Heart Surgery.
The new expanded Criss Heart Center at Children’s will have a new design focused on a one-stop patient centered care experience. The Criss Heart Center will bring together services currently located in two separate floors within the Hospital and the Specialty Pediatric Center. The nearly 5,000 sq. ft. of new space will be home to various diagnostic testing services and all exam and consult rooms.
The advantages of the new Center include a designated waiting area, an expansion from seven patient exam rooms to ten, as well as expanded work room space for medical personnel to order and review diagnostic tests as patients are seen. Separate intake areas to gather patient information have been eliminated so that most patient interaction will take place in exam rooms to ease the experience for young patients and families.
A new patient consult room with smart board technology will allow doctors to create unique diagrams of a patient’s heart and graphically outline the medical plan for patients. The diagrams will electronically be placed in the patient file and a copy can be printed and shared with the family before they leave. The consult room also will be integral to collaborative discussions with physicians about more complicated surgeries including heart transplants.
With nearly 900 surgery patient visits a year, the six work room spaces will enable physicians, diagnostic technicians, and nurses greater ability to work as a team, carefully evaluating each child to determine the best approach to resolve that patient’s unique issue. The expanded Criss Heart Center, which is expected to open in September 2014, will be utilized for more than 15,200 patient visits annually.
Cancer. There are few words that strike fear in the heart of a parentmore than this one. In the United States, more children are lost to cancer than any other disease. In 2010,Nebraska ranked third in the country in the incidence of cancer in children under 15 and fifth in children under 20. Children’s Hospital & Medical Center has long been a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment and now is pursuing three major initiatives to escalate the fight against pediatric cancer.
Construction has just been completed on a state-of-the-art Hematology and Oncology Center. Located on the third floor of the Specialty Pediatric Center (SPC), the $2.7 million, 9,000-square-foot facility will house a clinic and an infusion center for patient visits, administering chemotherapy and other life-saving treatments. The new Hematology and Oncology Center will offer several advantages compared to Children’s current clinic and infusion space. The clinic will expand from five treatment rooms to eight. Both the clinic and the infusion center will have dedicated private patient waiting areas. Currently, patients must share these areas with the general SPC patient population, which may put them at risk of potential infection, as cancer patients are often immune-suppressed. One clinic exam room will be equipped with positive and negative air flow to protect patients with severe immune deficiency, an option we are not able to offer at present. This room also will have its own restroom facilities. The infusion center will grow from three to five private treatment rooms, and the open infusion area will increase from seven to 10 stations. Socializing among parents and patients still will be possible, but credenzas will separate the infusion chairs so that when patients recline they can have privacy if they desire it. Sunlight will stream into the open infusion area from a 25-foot span of windows which will brighten up the infusion area and provide city views. For more information on this project call 402.955.6863.
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