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Children’s Hospital debuts expanded space for patients

Jun. 19, 2019, 10:09 AM

Grace Dalby, 2 months, was the first patient moved in to the new space at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Here, she is greeted by Meg Rush, MD, MMHC , Edie Carell Johnson, left, Kathryn Carell Brown, Julie Carell Stadler, Grace’s mother, Meredith, Deena Stalnaker, RN, and Michelle Acton, MSN, RN.
Grace Dalby, 2 months, was the first patient moved into the new space at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Here, she is greeted by Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, Edie Carell Johnson, left, Kathryn Carell Brown, Julie Carell Stadler, Grace’s mother, Meredith, Deena Stalnaker, RN, and Michelle Acton, MSN, RN. (photo by John Russell)

by Jessica Pasley

With a population explosion impacting Nashville and surrounding communities, serving the health care needs of the region’s families and children means that Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has been on the rise — literally.

Following completion of construction on the first of four new floors, patients were moved into the new 10th floor, 40,000-square-foot Pediatric Heart Institute on Tuesday, June 18, after a nearly three-year, $150 million construction project. A second floor of the new expansion is slated to open later this year.

Move-in also comes on the same day the hospital was again nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in its “Best Children’s Hospitals” guide.

To support the building’s expansion, Children’s Hospital launched the Growing to New Heights Campaign in 2014, a $40 million philanthropic effort that exceeded its fundraising goal. The cornerstone of the campaign was a $10 million gift from Kathryn Carell Brown, Julie Carell Stadler, Edie Carell Johnson and their families. They are the daughters of the building’s namesake, Monroe Carell Jr., and Ann Scott Carell. Brown served as campaign chair for the Growing to News Heights Campaign.

“It is hard to believe that we are again making history by opening the first floor of our second hospital expansion. Since the opening of the Children’s Hospital in 2004, we have been in nearly continuous building mode to create the programs and spaces needed to deliver state-of-the-art care for the children, youth and families of our community and region,” said Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, chief of staff and executive medical director of Children’s Hospital. “This new space will allow us to consolidate our programs more geographically, and in parallel create new, as well as expand existing, programs to enable healing and give hope to our patients. We are so grateful to the Carell family and our generous philanthropic partners who continue to support the vision set by Monroe and Ann Scott Carell as well as our incredible faculty and staff teams who have worked diligently to bring this vision to reality.”

Numerous families, businesses and organizations with longstanding roots in the community supported the Growing to New Heights campaign, including some who had contributed to the effort to build Children’s Hospital as a freestanding facility in 2004. Construction for this expansion began in 2016.

“Our parents truly loved this hospital and felt so passionate about the children and families served here,” said Brown on behalf of the Carell family.

“One of their greatest memories was seeing the first patients move into Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt back in 2004. Now, years later, I know they would be extremely proud that the hospital continues to grow, and even more children and families will be able to turn to Children’s Hospital for extraordinary care.”

The new 10th floor of the hospital consists of a 38-bed unit that creates a dedicated space for cardiac care, bringing together all cardiology-related specialties onto one floor.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Carell family and many others throughout the community for their ongoing support of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The hospital’s expansion is well-timed to accommodate the region’s incredible growth and represents the Medical Center’s commitment to provide world-class care for the increasing number of children and families we serve,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Children’s Hospital ambassador Caleb Daniel gets a helping hand from Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, during the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new space on the 10th floor. The pair is surrounded by, from left, Steven Webber, MBChP, MRCP, Julie Carell Stadler, Edie Carell Johnson, Scott Baldwin, MD, Caleb’s brothers Bo and Jake Daniel, Kathryn Carell Brown, and John W. Brock III, MD. (photo by John Russell)

Each room allows for rooming-in options for families seeking overnight accommodations. Other features include a dedicated pharmacy, ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) capabilities, procedure rooms and a universal waiting area. Twenty-three rooms are equipped with mobile, critical care technology that allows the health care teams more flexibility in caring for patients.

“The expansion is well designed and offers the most advanced pediatric technology, reflecting our promise to provide our most vulnerable patients the very best. The hospital’s dedicated and compassionate physicians, nurses and staff will utilize the new space to advance our mission of delivering outstanding care,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

Project teams began meeting nine months ago to plan for the move to the new 10th floor.

“We have been setting up and preparing for our new space for quite some time. Lots of hours have been put into planning this move. Now we are ready to settle in and make it feel like home. It is the first time all of our cardiac patients will be on one floor,” said Michelle Acton, MSN, RN, manager of patient care services for Pediatric Cardiology. “This gives us a unique opportunity of how we take care of these patients while they are in the hospital and how we transition them from one stage of care to the next.

“It’s been a very painstaking look at every single detail that goes into opening a floor in a hospital. The spaces are different, and the technology has changed. We even looked at where to place soap dispensers,” she said.

The 10th floor move-in comes months after the reopening of the hospital’s lobby, which was closed for nearly 14 months while construction crews installed two additional elevators to meet increasing demands for access to hospital floors. The hospital now has six visitor elevators.

The balcony seating area overlooking the hospital’s grand staircase, which had also been closed, reopened as the newly dedicated Carell Family Balcony, honoring the Carell family for their commitment to the health care needs of children.

Each new floor of the hospital’s expansion is adding 40,000 square feet. Once complete, the first two floors of the four-floor expansion will increase the number of beds from 267 to 339. When all four floors are complete this will add 160,000 square feet of new space, bringing Children’s Hospital’s total footprint to more than 1 million square feet.

The 11th floor will be the next area to open. Plans call for this space to be occupied by 23 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit beds and 15 Acute Care beds. The two additional floors that round out the four-floor expansion are shelled for future use.

This most recent expansion also incorporates the relocation of a helipad, made possible by the Christy-Houston Foundation with generous support from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Oliver Rolfe, that allows air medical service providers to bring about 40 patients to Children’s Hospital a month. A unique feature of the helipad includes video reporting. This lets the hospital team receiving a patient via a helicopter obtain a live video report from the helipad.

Children’s Hospital is Middle Tennessee’s only freestanding children’s hospital as well as the region’s only comprehensive, nonprofit pediatric health care provider. With more than 400 physicians trained in 30 pediatric and surgical specialties, Children’s Hospital offers care to patients with simple to complex health issues.

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