After years of preparation and planning, dreams became reality in March when the new Sanford Children’s Hospital opened its doors to patients in Sioux Falls. Called a Castle of Care, every aspect of the new hospital is dedicated to improving the health of children, beginning with the castle-like exterior and interior.
Sanford Children’s Hospital now provides 146 beds to care for children, complete with private family suites in the Boekelheide Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
As the region’s only free-standing children’s hospital, Sanford Children’s Hospital was designed solely for children and the people who care for them. Within this new, state-of-the-art environment, physicians and staff continue to provide highly specialized pediatric care and compassion for children and their families.
“We’re not just opening another building on the Sanford campus,” Sanford Children’s pediatric critical care physician Joe Segeleon, MD said. “But rather, we are forming an institution and a hospital that really has a singular mission, and that mission is to take care of children and their families.”
From the moment they arrive at the Castle of Care, children and their families find themselves immersed in a magical healing environment based upon the story from “The Legend of Sanford Castle,” a fairy tale written especially for the new facility. Scientific studies show children heal faster and go home sooner when they are cared for in a healing environment.
A coloring book artistically designed to represent the five lands of the fairy tale guides children through the castle’s five levels. All of the murals, paintings, treasure boxes and tapestries were crafted by local artists and children and are displayed in the hallways, ceilings and individual rooms within the castle. Ceiling tiles created by patients in the former Sanford Children’s Hospital were carefully moved to the new building and adorn the ceilings within patient rooms.
Even medical equipment is designed to provide comfort to children, such as the mobile radiology unit that looks like a fire engine as it travels from room to room. The medical equipment within patient rooms can be hidden behind cabinets to minimize a child’s fear.
Families of patients are given their own personal sleeping area in their child’s room. Each floor of the hospital includes a Family Center, complete with internet access, kitchenette, showers and laundry facilities, so families can focus on caring for their children.
“Our experience at Sanford Children’s was great,” said Marty and Patty McMurphy, whose daughter, Sarah, was recently hospitalized. “The nurses were very friendly and gave us a tour of the unit. The teacher came to our room and made arrangements to get our daughter’s school work from school, and she loved the food and it came very timely. We are very proud to be a part of the Sanford family.”
A team approach is used in caring for children, from pediatric specialty physicians in more than 20 different areas, to specially-trained pediatric nurses, therapists, social workers, child life specialists and more. On-site child life specialists work with children and their families through play therapy to help them understand and cope with their medical issues. A hospital-based school program includes a teacher who works with schools so patients and their siblings can remain current with school work and instruction.
Miller Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Among the many innovations, the newly-designed Miller Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has state-of-the-art equipment that allows access to patients from all angles. This minimizes risk of injury from movement and also allows staff immediate access to the child.
“The comforting environment, combined with all of these advancements, makes Sanford Children’s Hospital the most effective, compassionate and comprehensive source of care for children and their families in the region,” added Dr. Segeleon.