Two years ago our son underwent heart surgery at Primary Children’s Hospital. He was less than a week old when they cut open his tiny body, resected a narrow section of his aorta, and stitched him all back together. He spent about a week there, and we spent every day with him. During that time, we fell in love with Primary Children’s and the nurses, doctors, and other staff that work there. So we were really excited when we were invited to take a tour of the hospital’s brand new facility which will open on October 7, 2014.
The new building, dubbed the Eccles building, is 200,000 square feet– 5 floors of new space for the hospital to expand. It has beautiful views of the Salt Lake Valley and is a state-of-the-art facility. It houses outpatient clinics for sick children on the first 3 floors and offices on the top 2 floors.
The tour was great. We got to see a lot of features that are unique to the hospital, making it one of the top children’s hospitals in the country (they were ranked in 8 of their 10 pediatric specialties nationally).
We started in the new restaurant. It features a pizza oven, gelato, and a gourmet chef. Then we moved into the waiting rooms. The waiting rooms are on the west side of the building and have full glass walls overlooking the city. It was absolutely beautiful. On many of the other walls are games and interactive screens for children. We really like the huge matching game on the third floor.
There were some pretty cool features on the first floor, too. There is a playroom manned by volunteers for siblings of sick children. This means that parents are free to leave siblings while they accompany a sick child to an appointment. We would’ve loved this option when caring for our little one! One other cool feature was the pharmacy kiosk where you can Face-Time your pharmacist and have your meds sent right to the kiosk.
Next we moved to the cardiac unit, which was especially interesting to us because of our son’s experience. The rooms are really family oriented, with benches instead of chairs, bright colors, and activities for children. The pulmonary unit was equally impressive. The areas are each organized by color, and the layout was easy to navigate. They described to us a unit called the Child Life Unit. In this unit, kids are taught about their affliction in kid-friendly language. So a child receiving a liver transplant may be guided through the operation on a doll so they know what is happening to them. (This might be good for some of us parents, too!) One thing that made us happy in this section was the dialysis unit. Sadly, kids need dialysis, too. Until now, they’ve had to go to the adult unit, but now they have their own bright happy children’s unit.
The end of the tour was to the sky bridge. This connects the old part of the hospital to the new section. It is a tunnel that crosses the street. Wide windows let you look down at the cars, and they said that they are “smart windows” that can sense when to close by the temperature inside. Pneumatic tubes, like the ones at the bank connect the two wings so that blood samples can be sent back and forth, too.
We are so lucky to have Primary Children’s Hospital here in Utah. I can’t imagine taking our infant to Denver or Seattle and the cost associated with hotels, travel, not to mention what we’d have done with our other children in that situation. As it was, one of us stayed for free in one of PCH’s complimentary rooms each night so that our baby was never alone. What a blessing for families like ours to have this amazing hospital close by.
*We received a small monetary compensation for attending this event and blogging about our experience. The opinions stated herein are entirely our own, and we were not asked to write any specific kind of review.