Guest Blog with Susan Geiduschek, Director, Hematology/Oncology & Inpatient SCCA

Children who are fighting for their lives deserve the best – the best treatment, the best medical staff and the best facilities. The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Seattle Children’s has always provided exceptional care. As we prepare to move into Building Hope next spring, we look forward to providing an exceptional healing environment.

There’s a lot for everyone to be excited about in the new building. Because we’re expanding the cancer unit to 48 beds, every patient will have their own room. That alone is a huge improvement. When patients share a room, it’s more challenging to control infection – and more difficult for families to find the privacy they need. A cancer diagnosis is a long and difficult journey with many different emotional stages. Private rooms will make patients and families feel more comfortable during the highs and lows of this very personal experience.

The hospital becomes home for families with children fighting cancer. Our new spaces on the top two floors of Building Hope reflect our commitment to family focused care. Patient rooms are larger and come with showers, refrigerators and pull-out beds to make it easier for families to spend more time with their sick child.

Each floor will include special spaces with soothing views and natural light that support families away from their child’s room. Family lounges will bring a touch of home to the hospital with comfortable furniture, computers and spaces to store and prepare food. Quiet rooms will give families a place to reflect, confer with caregivers or simply take a break from the stresses of caring for a child with cancer.

In order to provide safe care we want our caregivers to spend as much time as possible with patients. We’re improving access to commonly used items by storing them close to the point of care. We’ll deliver medications, linens and other items to and from patient rooms through cabinets with doors on the inside and outside of the room. And we’re making computers readily available – including at the bedside – so caregivers won’t waste time searching for lab results and other important information. In addition, we’re arranging our patient units around central islands so caregivers can maintain good visibility of patients and families when they’re not in the room.

We’re one of the few cancer programs in the country designed to meet the unique needs of cancer patients from age 15 up to their late 20s. When we move into Building Hope, we’ll devote the entire top floor to adolescents and young adults. Cancer is hard. By designing a unit just for teens and young adults, we’re providing an age-appropriate environment where it will be easier to find the peer support that’s so important for this age group. This floor also will be home to our physical therapy gym and offer access to a rooftop terrace we hope to build with contributions from donors.

While moving is never easy, our staff is excited about taking our cancer program to another level in our new home in Building Hope.