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September 04, 2001

Eva Kohout
City-Wide Restructuring Communication
519-685-8500, ext. 77622


Innovative paediatric critical care unit opens at London Health Sciences Centre

(LONDON, Ontario) - A new, spacious and innovative Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) was unveiled at Victoria Campus of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) today. Associate Minister of Health, Helen Johns, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Dianne Cunningham, Chair LHSC Board of Directors, Geoff Davies, President and CEO of LHSC, Tony Dagnone, and former patients and families of the Paediatric Critical Care Program, were among the guests present to celebrate the opening of the new unit and participate in a tour of the facility. The completion of this unit marks the first critical step in the creation of the new Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario (CHWO) at LHSC as part of the London hospitals’ restructuring mandate. The PCCU will officially open its doors on September 7, 2001.

The PCCU is a multidisciplinary diagnostic and treatment facility for critically ill infants and children, where combined expertise of the major medical and surgical disciplines are coordinated in a team approach to patient care. With a 12-bed capacity, the unit provides care for all infants and children with complex medical or surgical problems. The PCCU is the major referral centre for Southwestern Ontario and parts of Central Ontario for all children with multiple organ failure, serious trauma, major trauma, major congenital cardiac malformations, and those requiring airway protection or continuous cardio respiratory monitoring.

"This facility is only one of two places in Ontario and one of five in Canada that trains paediatric critical care physicians and allows for that teaching process," comments Dr. Tim Frewen, Chief of Paediatrics, CHWO. "Children, we recognize, are not little adults. As a result, they have specialized needs in terms of technology and an environment that is both appropriate and nurturing for them."

The innovative unit is not your ‘typical’ PCCU. The space is friendlier and warmer with wood furnishings and accents along with murals on the walls that tie into a common theme throughout the unit. Even the entranceway to the PCCU received a facelift to make the unit easy to find. The eye-catching showpiece is a large, colourful quilt. The idea for the quilt was born out of a family project initiated by a Registered Nurse in the PCCU.

Several staff members took part in this labour of love and it’s dedicated to all the children and their families.

The patient friendly theme continues with the specialized equipment found in the unit’s patient rooms. The custom-built medical supply systems are suspended from the ceiling on articulating arms and provide a more versatile access to medical gasses, suction, electrical outlets, communication, and storage space. The system is moved to the patient and holds most of the tools needed for patient care. This allows for more space and less clutter in the patient care areas, as well as more convenience for the PCCU staff.

"The PCCU team worked very closely with the designers of the new unit to create an appropriate environment for patients and family-centred care," remarks Dr. Ram Singh, Director of the Paediatric Critical Care Unit. "The new space not only allows for family privacy, but also provides sufficient space for the necessary medical equipment at the bedside."

This new facility will allow PCCU physicians and staff to deal with the unique needs of children. All of the healthcare providers are aware and equipped to deal with the emotional, developmental, physical, and medical needs of their patients and families.

"Our healthcare professionals will now be able to continue the outstanding work they do in a modern, patient centred facility that will combine their talents with the latest technology to serve those children who require intense care," states Mr. Dagnone.