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The Studer Family Children’s Hospital is Expanding!

Sacred Heart Health System has announced plans to care for a new generation of children starting with construction in 2016 of a new four-story Children’s Hospital, along with a major expansion to women’s services.

The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart is the region’s only children’s hospital, serving families across Northwest Florida, South Alabama and South Georgia. The expanded Children’s Hospital will allow the hospital to provide care for more children, increase access to specialized pediatric and maternity care and consolidate pediatric services in one convenient location.

“Specialized healthcare for children and women has been in high demand, and the need is growing,” said Susan Davis, CEO of Sacred Heart Health System. “But even more than the number of patients we serve, we want to ensure the experience of those coming through our doors is as comfortable as possible and reflects the high-quality care they are receiving. Our new Children’s Hospital will strive to provide one consolidated healthcare home that is designed with a child’s needs in mind. This expansion also gives us the opportunity to build a maternity wing designed for a new generation of mothers and babies.”

The opening of the new Children’s Hospital is expected to add 100 Sacred Heart jobs for the local community. This growth of healthcare services will also enable recruitment of new pediatric specialists.

Sacred Heart Health System is a member of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit healthcare system.

The new four-story children’s hospital will be constructed in front of the existing Children’s Hospital, extending from the current pediatric transport ambulance bay into the parking lot. The new building will include:

  • Pediatric Emergency Department and Trauma Center, an expansion and relocation of Sacred Heart’s current Pediatric Emergency Department, which is now next to the adult Emergency Department and Trauma Center. Consolidating children’s emergency and inpatient services in one building will allow for more coordinated care and shorter discharge processes for children. Sacred Heart provides the region’s only pediatric trauma referral center.
  • Pediatric Surgery. With the construction of the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital, Sacred Heart will add six children’s operating rooms. This will consolidate all surgeries and procedures that require sedation into one area with a child-friendly environment designed to include family support, all with the goal of reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This expansion and relocation of Sacred Heart’s current NICU beds will enable The Studer Family Children’s Hospital to care for more premature and critically ill infants from across Northwest Florida. The Studer Family Children’s Hospital maintains two specially equipped neonatal critical care transport ambulances for the transfer of premature and critically ill newborns from other hospitals across Northwest Florida to The Studer Family Children’s Hospital.
  • Pediatric Intensive Care, where the most critically ill and injured children will continue to be cared for 24/7 by board-certified pediatric intensivists.
  • Pediatric Oncology, with an expanded inpatient unit to provide specialized, inpatient care for children with cancer.
  • Medical/Surgical beds, where care will continue to be overseen 24/7 by Sacred Heart’s board-certified pediatric hospitalists.
  • Extended stay/observation beds will represent a new inpatient unit for The Children’s Hospital, caring for children who aren’t yet ready to go home.
  • Pediatric satellite pharmacy, which includes in-house pharmacists and staff especially trained in preparing medications for infants and children.
  • Pediatric inpatient rehabilitation gym, where Sacred Heart’s physical, occupational and speech therapists can provide care for children during their hospital stay.
  • Child life playrooms, where child life specialists will work with children and families to promote effective coping through play, self-expression activities and age-appropriate medical education.

Sacred Heart Health System and Ascension have committed $55 million, and Sacred Heart will raise the remaining funds from community supporters in order to complete all phases of the expansion.