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WakeMed opens county's first children's hospital

Posted May 23, 2010

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— WakeMed celebrated the opening of Wake County's first children's hospital Sunday.

"When you have a young child, it is so important that you can get care close to home," said Deb Laughery, WakeMed's vice president of public relations.

The Children's Hospital occupies the fourth floor of a a new 168,000-square-foot tower on WakeMed's Raleigh campus, off New Bern Avenue.

From an aquarium in the lobby to a patient play room, the 45-bed Children's Hospital was designed to make children feel comfortable.

"They're scared. They come to a strange environment. You have strange people, strange noises and everyone coming at them. They think it's going to hurt," nurse manager Wanda Bowman said. "So you try to make it pain free as possible."

Two patient suites are designed for families with multiple sick children, and pediatric intensivists, who specialize in caring for critically ill children, are on hand.

Two other floors of the tower are dedicated to providing more space for heart and vascular patients. There are 159 new cardiovascular intermediate care beds and 58 cardiovascular intensive care beds.

"We are constantly at capacity, so the addition of these new units really helps us deal with that capacity," Laughery said.

To reduce stress for patients, WakeMed created a new courtyard and garden, so patients and their families can have a place to get away and to relax.

"Green things and fresh air, they just been proven so many times to help with recovery," Laughery said.

The total expansion cost $99 million. Donations for the Children's Hospital covered $8.5 million, and the hospital took out a bond to cover the rest.

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