New Family Focused Healthcare for Baltimore: Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital

As the mother of four, I’ve been truly blessed that for the most part all four of the Lil Nuggets are growing up healthy.  There have been a few bumps in the road that required a visit or two beyond our beloved pediatrician’s office.  As any parent can tell you, those moments can be scary. Having a great team to support your family, explain things and care for not just your little one, but you as well, can mean the difference between you holding it all together, or falling apart.

So when I was approached about the opening of a new children’s hospital here in Baltimore, I was keen to find out more and to be sure to spread the news. 

The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai offers a full range of pediatric specialty services for patients from birth to 18 years of age and older, supporting area pediatricians with the most comprehensive care of any community hospital in Maryland.

Opening on March 1, the new facility supports the family centered care philosophy and features private inpatient rooms with a sleep area for parents.

“This family-centered care model is an innovative approach because it breaks down barriers between patients, parents and the health care providers. It’s based on the cornerstones of team- work, communication, honesty and support, and is implemented through- out Sinai,” says Candace Rouse, R.N.C., M.S.N.

Rouse says whether a patient is in the emergency department or about to go into surgery, the family is always included in the decision-making process.

This philosophy has special resonance in the pediatric units, says Aaron Zuckerberg, M.D., director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

“In the PICU, we encourage parents to participate during rounds,” Zuckerberg says. “We’re a team, from the parent to the unit clerk to the doctor. Who better than a parent to assess how a child is feeling and in what direction the incremental changes have gone? Inpatient parental involvement has been shown to have a positive effect on outcomes.”

“Family centered care, a tradition at Sinai for 50 years, is now taken to the bedside for better communication and family involvement in care plans,” says Joe Wiley, M.D., chief of the Department of Pediatrics. “This process guarantees better communication, smoother hospital stays and better outcomes. It’s about delivering evidence based best care on a personalized level with the child and family at the center of all of our processes.”

Other amenities throughout the hospital include pastoral care services for those of all religions, a wide array of cafeteria and room service options, a family hospitality room and lounge on the inpatient unit, in addition to a playroom for patients with activities for teens and kids.

Still, it’s often the daily interactions with health care workers that provide the most comfort. Zuckerberg says being open and honest is a critical part of the philosophy behind family centered care.

“Everyone’s voice is important,” he says. “At the end of the day the focus is on keeping the family together. There are no secrets or miscommunication.”

The expansion of the new children’s hospital project began with the completion of the Alfred I. Coplan Pediatric Hematology Oncology Outpatient Center in August 2010. The clinic provides a new and improved space for patients and families. The project will also include the relocation and expansion of the Children’s Diagnostic Center, which will be completed by November 2012.

For more information about family centered care at Sinai Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

And because all parents, in Baltimore and beyond, love to watch their little “nuggets” grow, you can download a really cute growth chart -courtesy of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital- HERE.

May all your children grow and thrive!  ~Lara


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