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Big changes are on the way for pediatric health care in Macon

Public gets first glance of new children’s hospital at annual Christmas tree lighting

The general public got its first peek of the new Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health, during the Hospital's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony December 3, 2018.
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The general public got its first peek of the new Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health, during the Hospital's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony December 3, 2018.

The Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital Navicent Health is one step closer to its February grand opening.

A $2 million grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation put Navicent Health just over its $40 million fundraising goal for the renovation and expansion of its pediatric hospital at 888 Pine Street.

“It will just make it much more efficient for the delivery of health care,” said Ellen Terrell, chief development officer at the Navicent Health Foundation. “And it’ll make it so much nicer for the families — not only the children, but for the children’s families, as well — to have everything there in one building.”

Services for the thousands of children who travel from across the state for treatment will now all be housed under one roof, from neonatal care to emergency medicine.

“Children aren’t just small adults,” Terrell said. “Children have different needs, and the delivery of health care to the pediatric population is quite different than adults.”

Every aspect of the new pediatric hospital was designed with kids in mind, Terrell said.

“The environment is so bright and pleasing and they have so many special touches that will ease the tension that a child might feel when having a test or going into surgery,” said Karen Lambert, CEO of the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

“The medical procedures are the focus, but everything around it is geared toward making a child and the family more at ease,” she said.

CT scan and MRI machines will be adorned with undersea designs, and mini remote-control cars will transport patients through the hallways of the surgery unit. Patients and their parents shared their hopes for the new facility in focus groups, and many of their ideas were included in the final plan, Terrell said.

One child asked for wooden floors in the patient rooms, because he said they reminded him of home. Another suggested a gift shop downstairs, so his mom wouldn’t have to run to the store each time she needed medicine or a toothbrush. Both requests were honored.

The renovations also include 10 additional beds in the neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric emergency room separate from the main emergency department and a children’s surgery center, as well as critical and intermediate care units.

A community cannot thrive without access to quality health care, Lambert said. When Navicent Health applied for a grant, the trustees of the Peyton Anderson Foundation jumped at the chance to help fund the pediatric hospital, she said.

“It’s important so we can provide the best,” Lambert said. “We can provide the best for our own little ones and our neighboring communities, as well.”

Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member and reports for The Telegraph with support from the News/CoLab at Arizona State University. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/smax1996 and on Twitter @samanthaellimax. You can also join her Facebook group. Learn more about Report for America at www.reportforamerica.org.

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