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Golisano Children’s Hospital opens

By Staff | May 11, 2017

The first patient to cross the threshold of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida took place shortly after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, officially opening the doors of the new facility.

Anticipation hung in the air as staff gathered in the hallway connecting HealthPark Medical Center with the new children’s hospital awaiting the arrival of the first patient, 10-month-old Adelien Jean Koehler-Dull, an oncology patient from Port Charlotte, who was pulled in a wagon by Golisano Children’s Hospital Medical Director Dr. Emad Salman.

“For her to have that opportunity, I would never have thought five months ago it would have been her,” said Charles Dull, Adelien’s father, of her being the first patient of the new hospital. “I’m happy for her and so lucky she is here.”

Right before the New Year, they noticed a mass on their daughter’s cheek. It was later diagnosed as leukemia around New Year’s. Since then, Dull and his wife, Jessica Koehler-Dull, have spent many nights with their daughter at the hospital.

“It’s been pretty rough,” he said.

Adelien just completed her third round of treatment and is doing well.

After seeing his daughter wheeled down the hall all dolled up in a pink dress and headband, he was overwhelmed. Dull said everything is so new, especially with the layout of the new hospital.

“It’s exciting. It’s the next thing, that’s what it is all about. This is a great honor to be here and being treated in this facility,” Dull said.

The new facility will be nicer for family members who travel from Port Charlotte to see Adelien.

“It’s nice where we were, but having the new facility will be really great,” Dull said.

Adelien was one of 82 patients transferred into the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida Wednesday. Three tracks of patients were moved simultaneously every five minutes. The oncology unit was the first unit to be completed.

Golisano Children’s Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Kathy Bridge-Liles said Sarah Sheffield, special projects business partner for Lee Health, went into the current environment (HealthPark) and studied and understood the flows and differences to the new hospital. She said she learned the whole “old world” and cleaned up and got rid of anything not needed with the move.

Sheffield said planning began two years ago. It started with observations of where the teams were currently working and what it would look like in the new tower. Within the last month the greatest changes took place as they geared up for transfer day.

As the environment of the new hospital was done, staff began getting their supplies ready. They made sure it was the first in and first out for supplies, as well as formulating how to track and maintain the supplies over time.

One of the features of the rooms provides staff with the convenience of having the supplies at bedside.

There also were a lot of tabletop simulations to get the teams ready with a visual of what their new environment would look like, particularly the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“It is very different from their current world, so making sure they felt most comfortable in their new environment going into a single private room. Having an open bay NICU to having 64 single private rooms is a very big difference,” Sheffield said.

Other simulations ranged from how to walk into the building to safety of code blues. Staff being brought to the new building as much as possible was instrumental in making them feel comfortable, she said, as well as addressing safety issues that came up.

“Until you are working in an environment do you know where your supplies are? Do you know where your safety items are? Until you are in that environment working on the first day, in those simulations you can make adjustments, or tweaks,” she said.

A little after 9 a.m. it was said that the operation was running “perfect.”

The new children’s emergency department opened its doors at 7 Wednesday morning. The first patient arrived in the adult Emergency Department and was walked over to the new Golisano Children’s Hospital where the child was evaluated, treated, and discharged.

The new seven-story tower has 128 beds and nearly 300,000 square feet dedicated solely to children. The hospital has more than 400 specially-trained pediatric nurses, 93 physicians and 38 advanced providers on staff.

The facility is at 9981 S Healthpark Dr., Fort Myers.