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Generations of caring: New tower expands mission


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The lobby of the new Simon Family Tower at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health has a colorful motif. The structure adds 100 beds to the hospital facility and new comfort items such as private bathrooms and individual televisions for patients.
SUBMITTED PHOTO
The lobby of the new Simon Family Tower at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health has a colorful motif. The structure adds 100 beds to the hospital facility and new comfort items such as private bathrooms and individual televisions for patients. SUBMITTED PHOTO


For the children admitted to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, their stay just became a little more comfortable.

Private bathrooms, mini-refrigerators and DVD players are included in every room. Nintendo Wii game systems are connected to a flat-screen televisions.

Even their parents will have their own TV to watch while their children watch movies or play video games.

Hospital leaders have opened parts of a new, 10-story inpatient facility called the Simon Family Tower to ensure more children receive the treatment they need. The new tower will provide space for families to stay in comfort, add 100 beds to the existing hospital and increase the capabilities of the staff.

An expanded emergency room, larger newborn intensive care unit and revamped cancer center will all be open in the next year.

“From day one, this project has been about space, having enough to tend to all of the children who need our expert care and designing it uniquely to meet their needs,” said Jeff Sperring, president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children.

The tower is the culmination of a 10-year capital improvements plan that has cost $500 million for the hospital. The Simon family, which owns the Indiana Pacers and shopping malls throughout the country, contributed $40 million toward its completion.

The contributions given by the Simons, and by all of the donors who made the expansion possible, will help doctors at Riley treat disease more efficiently, said Kevin O’Keefe, president and CEO of Riley Children’s Foundation.

“These gifts allow us to reach even higher for children,” he said.

The Simon Family Tower was designed along the hospital’s mission of patient-and-family-centered care, Sperring said. The idea recognizes the importance of the family in ensuring a patient is successfully treated.

Hospital officials needed to design the facility to best serve not only the children receiving medical care but also the people who will support those patients daily.

Lounges, kitchens and business centers have been installed on each floor. More laundry facilities have been added so that families staying long term can wash clothes.

While children and their families will enjoy the added comfort features, the expansion will greatly increase the capability of the hospital to treat a variety of diseases.

To help prevent infection and ensure the privacy of patients, the building is arranged with separate hallways for the general public and for doctors and patients. Children in the hospital being treated won’t come in contact with those visiting.

The cancer center and burn centers have been expanded. The hospital will include two cardiac catheterization labs to help children dealing with severe heart problems. Pediatric and neonatal intensive care units now have 108 beds to best treat even the youngest patients.

The entire hospital facility has been opening on a staggered schedule, starting in 2010 with a new pharmacy and MRI lab. The only areas that need to be finished are the neonatal intensive care center, emergency room, heart center and surgery suites.

The entire project will be complete in the next six months, Sperring said.

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