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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Diamond Center opens doors

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat 

Nurses wheel Isabella Alvarez, two years old, with her mother, Sandi Alvarez close behind, from the third floor of University Medical Center to the new fifth floor Diamond Childrens Center early Tuesday morning, April 27, 2010.  Hospital staff also used the move to practice evacuation procedures.
Rodney Haas
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat Nurses wheel Isabella Alvarez, two years old, with her mother, Sandi Alvarez close behind, from the third floor of University Medical Center to the new fifth floor Diamond Children’s Center early Tuesday morning, April 27, 2010. Hospital staff also used the move to practice evacuation procedures.

University Medical Center transferred its first pediatric patients to the new Diamond Children’s Medical Center on Tuesday morning.

Doctors, nurses and other staff started rolling the beds of 31 patients from the pediatric wing to the center at 4 a.m.

Diamond Children’s Medical Center has been under construction for more than three years. The center, working in partnership with the Steele Children’s Research Center, aims to provide a comfortable and friendly facility for children.

“”It’s a chance to have everything dedicated to kids,”” said Robyn Meyer, a UMC pediatric intensive care physician. “”From a physician’s point of view, it’s an opportunity to recruit higher quality physicians.””

This first round of transfers only included patients in the general pediatric unit. Children from other units will be transferred in the coming weeks.

UMC also used the transfer to test its evacuation plan. Evaluators were on hand as staff tracked the patients leaving the pediatric wing.

“”Right now, we’re treating it as a disaster drill,”” said Vicki Began, vice president for UMC Women’s, Children’s and Emergency Services. “”They have identified which patients go and what order they’re going to go in.””

The new medical center has 116 beds, compared to 87 in the UMC pediatric wing. Patients receive their own rooms with a computer at each bedside, a convenience for nurses handling medical charts.

“”We have all new monitors, new computers,”” Began said. “”That will be a luxury.””

The center was designed and decorated based on the priorities of a focus group of patients. Rooms are warmly colored, and every floor features pictures of Arizona nature.

The focus group stressed the importance of a family-focused environment. Each room includes a closet, a bathroom and a loveseat where parents can sleep.

“”For children and families, it’s wonderful,”” Began said. “”It’s all designed for the family to stay with the child.””

Patients were given goody bags and handmade blankets upon transferring to their rooms.

Fourteen-year-old Jose Candanoza said his new room was a huge improvement.

“”This is so much better because we don’t have roommates,”” Jose said. “”My last roommate was a baby. He was pretty loud sometimes.””

Jose’s mom, Vivian Candanoza, echoed his statement.

“”It’s very convenient. There’s plenty of room,”” Vivian Candanoza said. “”When you have a 14-year-old, it’s really convenient to have privacy.””

The transfer was bittersweet for long-time employees in the pediatric unit.

“”I’ve been in this place since ’84, and it’s hard to leave it. But as you can see, it’s cramped and hard to get things done,”” Meyer said. “”The new facilities are beautiful.””

Employees will have to adjust to the change but are happy to see the center finally open.

“”This has been a very exciting day,”” Began said. “”We’re seeing our dream become reality.””

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