For the kids’ new chapter


Margaret Kispert

The new UI Children Hospital is shown on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. Officials say the project will cost more than $300 million.

By Jenna Larson

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The new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital finally opened its doors on Feb. 25.

That day, patients were moved from the cancer center to the 11th floor of the Children’s Hospital, and patients were moved into the new hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit and the neonatal intensive care unit, said Jean Robillard, the UI vice president for Medical Affairs.

“[Anticipating its opening, officials expect] between 50 and 60 patients,” he said. “The next move will probably be another 50 patients.”

The floors relating to pharmacy and medical procedures are ready, and in the next few weeks, floors nine and 10 will open, Robillard said.

The hospital spent weeks training the staff on the new environment to make sure the opening would go smoothly, he said.

“What we are looking forward to is having an environment for children that is designed for them, that their care is focused to their needs,” he said.

Children are not small adults because they have different physiology and different needs, Robillard said, and that’s what the hospital will offer to them and their family.

“I think especially with Dance Marathon was the first one coming with a huge donation of $5 million to help us build the hospital,” he said.

Since its opening, officials have praised the smooth transition of the move to the new Children’s Hospital.

“I think it’s been going exquisitely well just as we planned it,” said Ken Kates, the UIHC associate vice president and CEO. “We had three mock moves before today, we have had hundreds of people involved in this process, and it couldn’t be going better.

“It was exciting talking to the patients and families who have moved and to see their excitement moving to a new hospital and all the amenities was really quite gratifying.”

The opening was right on track and ahead of schedule, said Raphael Hirsch, the Joel and Jay Stead head for Leadership in Children’s Medicine for the Stead Family Pediatrics Department.

“It’s been mostly exciting,” Hirsch said. “There’s been so much preparatory work.”

Practice mock moves were done along with a lot of preparation that reduced a lot of the anxiety and stress, Hirsch said.

“Now we are actually doing live what we had practiced doing, and it’s going completely smoothly at this point,” he said.

The staff is excited that the hospital is up and running, he said.

“It’s tremendously exciting to finally be in a state-of-the-art facility for the children that we care for,” Hirsch said.

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