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The Cook Children's Emergency Department (ED) consistently ranks as one of the busiest in the nation. The children who walk through the ED doors receive the highest level of care possible as part of a Level II Trauma Center.
However, the Cook Children's Emergency Department was built to serve about half of the 120,000 patients seen each year. At the time of its completion nearly 20 years ago no one could have foreseen the rapid pediatric population growth that would take place in this community.
A comprehensive review of the medical center showed the need for a modernization project for the ED, Surgery Services, the new Heart Center, a Laboratory and a Sterile Processing Center. This venture is in response to the emerging needs of a growing population and will culminate with a new South Tower, built on Cook Children's main campus in Fort Worth.
All areas will be updated to ensure a new contemporary look and feel, with a more efficient design and room for the latest in technology.
This is especially important in Surgery Services. The pediatric surgeons at Cook Children's performed more than 27,000 procedures last year on children of all ages. The surgeons are specially trained to care for pediatric patients, but need specific technology to operate on the little patients at the medical center. The new modernization project will make this possible.
In addition to the new South Tower, a new, permanent Urgent Care Center will be built on the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Sixth Avenue to further alleviate the wait times in the ED. A new South Utility Plant will also be built on campus to support the South Tower and future growth. The Prayer Garden and the Walk of Honor will be relocated to a new location.
“Our aim has always been to provide the safest and most modern environment possible for our patients and their families. We feel we owe them our best in keeping with our Promise to them – ‘to improve the health of every child in our region,' ” said Rick Merrill, president and CEO of Cook Children's. “Technology progresses quickly so we must continue to not only evolve with the times, but try to stay ahead of them. Winston Churchill once said, ‘We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.' As a leader in pediatric healthcare, we believe the new South Tower will shape and position us well for our future.”
But this modernization project can't be fixed by knocking down walls or adding piecemeal additions.
“Simply renovating the old spaces wouldn't give us what we so desperately need to service our patients and their families,” said Nancy Cychol, president of Cook Children's Medical Center. “The interstitial space between floors is too small and we can't move the latest technology we need into those areas such as Surgery and the Emergency Department. We also need a better layout and flow in the ED so we can treat patients more efficiently. This will give us the ability to see patients faster and safer. The addition of a new, permanent Urgent Care Center will help to enhance the great care our kids and their families have already been experiencing.”
Key specialties within Cook Children's such as Neurosciences, Endocrinology, Hematology and Oncology, Orthopedics and the Heart Center have helped Cook Children's gain national and international recognition as a health care leader. Cook Children's has always managed to attract the best and brightest minds in health care. This new modernization effort will help continue that tradition.
This project for the new South Tower, the Utility Plant and renovation of the existing facility will cost $349 million. The South Tower will include 314,000 square feet.
“You invest in the care of children when you have the ability to invest,” Merrill said. “More than that, it's important that we continue to reinvest looking toward the future because that's when the community reaps the most benefits.”
Construction on the new facility begins in December 2013 and will be completed in the next three and a half years, with an additional year of internal renovation. Highlights of the new tower include the following:
The new Emergency Department will be designed to lessen the wait times for patients. It will have more, and larger, exam rooms and a superior layout designed to better accommodate the existing volume of patients visiting the Emergency Department.
Many patients visit the Emergency Department to receive care they could get at an urgent care facility or at a primary care location. To decrease these visits and further reduce wait times in the Emergency Department, the new, larger urgent care facility will be built in close proximity to the new ED.
The new Emergency Department will offer:
The new operating rooms will make room for the latest advances in technology. The new layout will allow for more efficient delivery of services and ceiling space to accomodate advanced technology. The new Surgery Suite will be on the second level of the South Tower and will house:
The new Heart Center will be the home for all cardiology services to be located on the same floor, including the catheterization labs (two labs are planned), operating rooms, cardiac intensive care unit and a cardiac step-down area. It will be located on level three of the upcoming South Tower. The cardiac step down will be located on the third floor of the main building.
A cardiologist who specializes in treating adults will be brought on to exclusively work in the new Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. The new physician will see patients who have been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and who should transition out of pediatric cardiology, but need the advances in diagnostics, imaging, surgical treatment and medications at Cook Children's.
The new laboratory's larger space will give staff a flexible workspace and more efficient layout, which will provide faster turnaround times for diagnostic lab testing and more work to be done in-house to support much of the Cook Children's system. Previously, the lab testing had been performed outside of Cook Children's.
Cook Children's already took steps to ease the amount of people seen in the Emergency Department by opening a temporary Urgent Care Center located at 800 7th Avenue across from the main campus. A new, permanent Urgent Care Center, located on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Rosedale, will be a part of the modernization. The new Urgent Care Center will provide a place for parents to take their children for non-emergent care, which should have an impact on the number of patients seen at the Emergency Department. The Urgent Care Center will treat patients for a number of non-emergent ailments such as ear infections, strep/sore throats and cold and flu symptoms.
Cook Children's will build a new South Utility Plant on the main campus that will be a 16,560 square-feet two story building. The plant will house the most energy efficient options for all equipment offered by manufacturers. And will have capacity to service future growth of the campus to the South.
The Cook Children's Prayer Garden and Walk of Honor, currently located on the South Lawn, will be moved to a new location. A new prayer walk will be next to the Dodson Specialties Clinic and will incorporate the Walk of Honor plaques. A larger green space will be added after construction of the new Urgent Care Center near 6th Avenue. Patients and families can enjoy a peaceful walk, a serene prayer or just enjoy the sun.
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