IMG_3547Building Hope’s journey from vision to reality is coming to an end. I’ll miss watching each step of the construction process unfold through my office window.  But the end of construction is just the beginning of something even more exciting. In a few weeks, Seattle Children’s will welcome the first patients and families to the new building. This is what we’ve dreamed about and worked toward ever since we broke ground – and then some.

We can’t thank our neighbors enough for the cooperation and understanding they showed throughout this large and important project. When Building Hope opens its doors, we’ll be able to help more of the children who need us most – those who need cancer care, critical care and emergency care.

Our existing cancer unit is so full that we often must care for patients in other parts of the hospital. Our critical care unit is so busy that we sometimes must send patients to other hospitals. And our emergency department wasn’t designed to handle the volume of patients coming through the doors. We’re thrilled that Building Hope will expand capacity and help us keep our promise to serve all patients and families who need us.

We’re not just adding beds, though. We’re improving the way we deliver care. With guidance from families, the community and our staff, we designed a dynamic building that’s comforting, efficient and maximizes the time caregivers spend with patients. The result is a healing environment that’s second to none.

As I watched Building Hope take shape, I thought about the many children who won’t have to share a room anymore because every room in the new building is a single-bed room – ensuring privacy and reducing the risk of infection. I thought about the family lounges (for relaxing, preparing meals and maintaining some of the rhythms of daily life) and the colorful artwork, abundant natural light and enhanced visibility found in every unit.

I also thought about the many ways we’re helping caregivers remain near the bedside – from keeping needed supplies and equipment close at hand so caregivers don’t have to track them down to placing computers inside every room so caregivers can view images and lab results without leaving their patients.

There’s much to celebrate about Building Hope. We’re excited about the quality of care the new building makes possible and grateful to the community for supporting our mission to help the region’s sickest children. We couldn’t do it without you.