A New Beginning for The Children of Southwest Florida
The new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida celebrated with a special open house in April that honored a community’s efforts to make quality health care for its children a reality.
Located on the grounds of HealthPark Medical Center, the new hospital is a seven-story tower that serves children and families from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The building consolidates into one location the medical and specialty services required to treat critically ill or injured children.
The comprehensive pediatric facility is the only acute care children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. “Our goal was to provide a regional service as close to home as possible,” explains Lee Health President and CEO Jim Nathan. “Many premature infants and children with complex, long- term care challenges require multiple inpatient visits over many months and years. This is not only challenging for the child but also for the entire family. The farther they have to travel, the greater the stress on the family while facing a major challenge for the child. Today we have the ability to not only save lives but help children thrive.”
Formal planning and fundraising for the hospital began in 2010, but in 2012 businessman B. Thomas Golisano pledged to match $20 million in private donations. Energized by the chance to support children’s health care and the hospital’s construction, an eager community met the challenge in only a year’s time. The hospital was off and running toward its fundraising goal of $100 million, which it reached in November 2016.
“Without the community’s generous philanthropy, this hospital would not be a reality,” says Kathy Bridge-Liles, chief administrative officer of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Thousands of people in this community understood the need and supported the fundraising for over five years.”
The 292,000-square-foot hospital has 128 private patient rooms—expandable to 160 beds—that enable parents, grandparents or legal guardians to stay with their children and grandchildren 24 hours a day during critical times.
The family centered rooms provide sleeping accommodations for two parents/guardians, a private bathroom with a tub and shower, and wireless networking for personal computing. Each room offers state-of-the-art equipment and technology near the entrance of the room to ensure maximum privacy for the patient and family during their hospitalization.
“Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is about keeping families together, so they don’t have to travel long distances to get health care services they need for their children or newborns,” says Lee Health Chief Operating Officer Larry Antonucci, M.D. “When I first came to Southwest Florida, folks had to travel to Tampa or Miami for those services. The building of the hospital is a tribute to everyone in this community who recognized the need and made it happen.”
Hospital amenities include an outdoor garden area, a second-floor emergency room with elevated ramp and parking area for patients and families, indoor and outdoor play areas to accommodate children with special needs, and a concierge area operated by the Ronald McDonald House organization.
The facility’s neonatal intensive care unit has 64 private rooms, offering capacity for all critically ill and premature newborns in the region, Kathy notes. “Because all of our services are patient and family focused, most of our amenities were requested and then designed by parents and children.”
Dr. Antonucci adds, “For pediatricians working in the community, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is an incredible asset for children who need specialized care. The physicians can literally send their patients right up the road. This is why the hospital is so important to the community because it provides state-of-the art, high- quality health care to children, close to home.”
Tags: Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, pediatrics