Jefferson Memorial Hospital is holding an official ribbon-cutting and open house Dec. 11 for the hospital's newly renovated pediatric unit and new progressive care unit, said hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe. Renovations at the hospital began in February.
"It's been a long time coming and it's something the community really needs," said Marilyn Lare, director of the progressive care unit.
That unit is intended for patients who have experienced serious ailments, such as a stroke or a broken hip, and need extensive physical and occupational therapy before they can go home, Lare said. The 10-bed unit will give patients a transition between other hospital units and their homes, she said.
"The whole goal of this unit is rehabilitation and recovery," Lare said.
Before, patients would have to go into either a long-term care home or another hospital to receive the follow-up care, she said.
Now they can stay in their community, which is easier on the patients and their families, she said.
Nurses in the progressive care unit work closely with social workers, physical therapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists, Lare said.
The patients are encouraged to socialize in an activity room, Lare said. Even games such as bingo can speed recovery by helping patients tune their fine motor skills, she said.
The pediatric unit also has a play room filled with toys and stuffed animals. Even when children are ill, they still want to play, said Linda Blanc, the unit's nurse manager.
Once isolated on the third floor of the hospital, the pediatric unit now adjoins the progressive care unit on the second floor, Blanc said.
The unit now has six beds instead of 12, but the rooms have more modern equipment, she said.
The patients range in age from newborn to 18, Blanc said.
Some of the hospital beds are shaped like cribs for the younger patients. There also are recliner chairs that fold out into cots for the parents who want to stay in the room with a patient.
A hospital stay can be a traumatic experience for children and their parents, Blanc said.
Parents are allowed to assist in the care by bathing and comforting their child, she said.
The televisions in the rooms are equipped with video cassette recorders so the children can play their favorite tapes, she said.
The hospital is able to provide general pediatric care for children. More specialized cases are still sent to Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere, Blanc said.