Published December 10, 2008
I had been excited to see the sign announcing the Community Open House as I drove by Akron Children’s Hospital at Beeghly Campus. I wanted to attend because I had heard so many good things about this organization and we live nearby. When I read that the Nickelodeon characters “Dora and Diego” would be there, it was a no brainer that I would attend regardless of the weather. It was ingenious that the planners had these two characters there. My daughter, her cousins and any child I know from the age of 18 months + is, or once was, a Dora or Diego fan. I overheard some staffers comment on the kids’ excitement as if they didn’t expect the turnout of children, screaming with glee at the sight of the characters. They must not have a lot of toddlers in their midst because it would be comparable to The Beatles being in town for area baby boomers. The looks of shock and awe and the smiles on the children’s faces upon seeing these huge, live versions of their favorite characters was really fun to behold. All the parents were whipping out their cell phones or cameras to take pictures of their children with Dora and Diego. The look on my daugher’s face was priceless. She has big blue eyes which grew even larger when she saw this huge Dora in front of her. She tentatively walked towards Dora, reached out to touch Boots the monkey and just squeaked out a laugh as she ran back towards me.
The setup in the greeting tent was nice. Besides Dora and Diego, they were giving children plush aviator teddy bears (sporting an Akron Children’s Hospital scarf), again – brilliant idea, water, juice, cookies and chips (okay – the food could have been healthier but it kept the kids happy). My daughter clung to her new bear as if she didn’t have a good dozen teddy bears already. I had planned to meet up with a cousin and her 2 year old but the crowd was too crazy. All of this was in tents outside of the hospital which were pretty cold considering the wind chill last Sunday.
After the tent of goodies, we went inside to be taken on a tour. Smartly, one had to get a “passport” stamped at every toured department to be entered to win a Wii fit game. I wanted a tour regardless. I thought it would be a good idea for my child to see the place in a positive atmosphere of fun, candy and stickers rather than be fearful and sick the first time she sees it. Also, I wanted a lay of the land so that I wasn’t clueless and a nervous wreck bringing in a sick child.
As a mother, I highly recommend this medical treatment facility. It showed that they really thought about the needs of the children and parents in the design of every section. The low maintenance emergency rooms all had donated teddy bears sitting there for children to cuddle as they waited for care (of ear aches or the flu) which could be later taken home. There are tv’s in every room which is a great idea to keep children (and parents) distracted and calm. There are bright pieces of artwork by area children throughout the rooms as well as colorful wall borders with appealing visuals for children. I liked that the higher level trauma emergency rooms even had neonatal treatment tables for young infants.
The rooms for admitted children are amazing. I love that they hide all the tubes and scary looking things in cupboards. Heck, they intimidate me when I visit people in the hospital let alone if I was a child. Most importantly, each room has a couch that pulls out into a twin bed for a parent to sleep upon overnight. As someone who had a child in NICU for 2 weeks and couldn’t sleep at the hospital, I like this feature most of all.
Another thing that I found appealing was the waiting room for parents (near the admitted patient’s rooms) which had a computer for them to use. I’m the type of patient/parent that researches an ailment, creates a list of questions to ask the doctor and believes in being overly knowledgeable rather than being scared and not want to be aware of everything associated with an ailment. It really helps to do this when dealing with medical personnel because I find that it keeps them on their toes and they treat you with a different level of respect (knowing that you are googling whatever they say).
As I’ve said to others, I hope to never have to use Akron Children’s Hospital Beeghly Campus but I am very reassured that it is so close to my home and thoroughly equipped to handle many situations (even a helicopter for transport to another hospital). Most of all, I am reassured that my child will be treated with care that thinks like a child. Shoot, I wish facilities for adults were this nurturing.