St. Vincent Children’s Hospital aims to make patients, families comfortable
By Jen Hirthe
GREEN BAY – HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital staff said it’s proud to be Green Bay’s first and only children’s hospital.
Designated a children’s hospital in 2015, Executive Director Amber Chibuk said St. Vincent Children’s Hospital serves children of all ages throughout Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP).
“We have expert care for kids in Green Bay,” Chibuk said. “With our dedicated teams of pediatric experts, we provide the biggest commitment to kids’ health that Northeast Wisconsin, the Lakeshore and the UP has ever seen.”
In the years since its designation, she said the children’s hospital has undergone, and is currently finishing, a variety of upgrades to provide the highest level of care to the area’s tiniest patients.
Plans to expand, which included a community-wide fundraiser, Chibuk said, began in 2016.
“A lot of work went into fundraising for the project, and community donors came through for us and for the kids to help make our vision of a renovated children’s hospital come true for our facility to aesthetically match the advanced level of pediatric expertise and quality of care offered here,” Chibuk said.
She said the “Join the Fight” fundraising campaign was a community fundraising effort that “made the children’s hospital remodel possible, which included modernized spaces, technology and designs created especially for children.”
Chibuk said unfortunately, the 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project slightly, but things resumed later that summer.
“Since August 2020, construction has been underway,” Chibuk said. “At that point we entered into a four-phased project to entirely revamp our pediatric inpatient units and the rest of that floor.”
She said they wanted to provide children a healing environment in which they feel at home.
“So, the pediatric intensive care units all feature the natural landscapes and beautiful colors found in Northeast Wisconsin,” she said.
In 2021, the pediatric floor was reconfigured, and a new pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) opened with increased capability to care for critically-ill children.
“The new PICU offers families a comfortable stay and allows our pediatric intensivists to provide the highest level of pediatric care in our region,” Chibuk said.
Phase two of the project focused on new rooms in the pediatric unit, right next to the PICU, which Chibuk said makes for easy transfer between the two units, if needed.
“The kid-friendly rooms are equipped with color changing lights, private bathrooms and seizure-monitoring equipment,” she said.
Another massive – literally – part of phase two is a large, interactive video wall in the unit’s entrance.
“When you step off the elevators and you round the corner to the pediatric units at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, you are now greeted by a giant, interactive TV wall,” Chibuk said. “This 18-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall video wall is made up of 32 55-inch TVs, all connected to make one large display. The purpose of the video wall project at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital was for the experience – for patients and their families. The captivating wall makes them feel like they are truly somewhere else, not in a hospital.”
She said the wall’s various backgrounds/displays are designed to provide comfort to patients and their families.
“For instance, there’s a night scene of a lake, full moon, flickering campfire and fireflies to put families at ease, and allow your imagination to bring you somewhere else outside of the hospital setting,” Chibuk said.
In addition to the changing backgrounds, she said the wall is also interactive.
“It is equipped with motion-sensors, so children and their families can dance and/or play games by themselves or with other children, when it’s safe,” she said. “The video wall provides our pediatric patients and their families moments of joy and play during times that can be filled with fear.”
Chibuk said the wall isn’t just for fun and games.
“It’s also beneficial to keep patients moving and socializing with those around them, because that positively impacts their mental and physical health,” she said.
Phases three and four
Next month, phase three renovation will be completed, which includes pediatric unit rooms and an additional room in the PICU.
As for final phase four, Chibuk said it is due for completion in June 2022.
“It will include a new family lounge that will offer a place for parents or caregivers to take some time for themselves outside of their child’s room,” she said. “It will be stocked with food and drinks, so families can stay close to their children. A teen lounge will also be built, which focuses on technology, including video and audio for a place to ‘escape.’”
Phase four will also include a mother’s room for breastfeeding moms to either feed or pump in private if they like, and a laundry room available for families to use as well, she said.
“We’re creating a special place where every detail is tailored to the kids,” Chibuk said. “But we know that kids are not our only patients, and we also take into consideration our parents and caregivers.”
She said all the renovations, in all four phases, directly benefit the needs of St. Vincent Children’s Hospital patients.
“The renovated spaces are bright, airy, and healing with nature,” Chibuk said. “They provide security to the unit, with badge access only, to assure only approved visitors are allowed on the floor, and special lounges for parents, caregivers, and teenagers allow everyone privacy and the opportunity to break away and rejuvenate when needed.”
More information about HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital and its recent renovations, visit its website, at hshs.org/stvincentchildrenshospital.