Parking will be available in the Huron-St. Clair parking garage,
just across Superior Street from the hospital. There will be a
pedestrian overpass. Parking also is available in the Erie-Ontario
garage a few blocks from the hospital.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest
Indiana's new Ronald McDonald House at 211 E. Grand will open in
conjunction with the new hospital. The new house is more than four
times the size of its existing facility in Lincoln Park and will
expand its capacity from 21 to 86 rooms.
The hospital's current property will be sold. The hospital will
maintain Children's Memorial Research Center on Halsted. The
Outpatient Center in Lincoln Park (at the intersection of Clark and
Deming) will remain open.
For more info, go to luriechildrens.org.
Photos by Frank Pinc
It's an understatement to say that designers of the new Ann
& Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago have left no
opportunity untapped to create a kid-friendly environment.
After 130 years of treating the most critically ill children not
only from Chicago, but also from 35 countries around the world,
Children's Memorial Hospital moves June 9 to a new $855 million
state-of-the-art facility at 225 E. Chicago Ave. that doesn't stop
transporting its technological prowess into the modern era. It
envelops patients and their families in a milieu of tranquility,
nature and art, all painstakingly crafted to ease the anxiety that
comes with being in the hospital.
Among the highlights:
"We know that children heal better when they're less anxious,"
says Julie Pesch, director of public affairs for Children's
Memorial. "When they can experience interesting, inspiring things,
it can help take their minds off their illness and pain."
Care inspired by kids
How did hospital planners come up with this stuff? They took
their cues from the kids they treat. A klatch of about 10 teens on
the Kids Advisory Board gave input that shaped the perks and
pleasures they know firsthand will strip lots of the dreariness
from a hospital stay.
One of the members, Ellen Gordon of Palatine, endured
months-long stints as a patient while being treated for lupus and
"When you're sick as a kid, it's really hard to interact in the
real world," she says. "Sometimes it's more exciting to be in the
hospital than to be in school because in a medical environment,
everyone understands me."
Now 19, she worked to ensure the sky garden-named Kevin's Garden
after former Mayor Richard M. Daley's late son, who died before his
third birthday from complications of spina bifida-became a
sanctuary of nature instead of the high-tech video area some
"It's so exciting to see this amazing building and know that I
was one of the people who had a hand in making it this way," she
Upgrades at last
Bells and whistles noted, what is really behind the Children's
It was time, says Chief Nurse Executive Michelle Stephenson.
Lurie offers many key advancements over the 130-year-old
"Not only were we space constrained," she says. "We were also
The hospital is re-fashioned in a way that better incorporates
its web of medical services. Close proximity to Northwestern
Memorial Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago will
better transition young patients to adult care. A pedestrian bridge
links the new Lurie to Prentice Women's Hospital-the largest
birthing center in Illinois-to expedite care to critically ill
"We're looking for a seamless experience," Stephenson says. "It
will feel like one and the same facility."
The updates incorporate the newest technology. That means
operating rooms ready for minimally-invasive surgery and portable
imaging that lets medical info follow the patient.
There are 288 licensed beds, all private rooms designed to
control infection with new ventilation and hygiene systems. Rooms
with full baths, fold-out sofas and recliners give families a more
comfy space while there.
"It places emotional strain for a child to be placed in a room
with another family," Stephenson says. "The new rooms minimize
Decentralized nursing stations keep nurses closer to patients
The move also puts the children's hospital closer to
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and will help
the hospital recruit top pediatric specialists.
"For example, only about 15 new pediatric specialists graduate
each year and half of those go back to their country of origin,"
Stephenson says. "That leaves five to seven to meet the needs all
across the country, so as you can see, attracting them is very
Excitement in the ER
On the second-floor, Kenneth and Anne Griffith Emergency Care
Center, Mary Otting and Bonnie Mobley, director of
Interprofessional Education, were reveling in all the new
The new emergency care center is more than twice the size of the
old one. Doctors have been caring for 60,000 children in a facility
built to handle 25,000. The new one will easily handle 75,000.
Unlike most hospital designs, the ER is situated on the second
floor, just above the ambulance garage.
Trauma treatment rooms can accommodate six patients at a time,
for cases like auto crash injuries where more than one member of
the family may be injured. Portable monitors containing computer
records can follow patients from department to department. Private
triage rooms lower tension by concealing critically ill or wounded
patients from others.
"We used to have a fish bowl in the old building," Otting says.
"This keeps people from having to see stuff they don't need to
High tech aside, Mobley was just happy about simple things like
accessible outlets at shoulder level instead of tucked behind
cabinets near the floor.
"When there's an emergency, every second counts," she says.
"Little things can do a lot to help us do our job more
Ellen Gordon, a nursing student at Loyola, now works as a
certified nursing assistant in the infectious disease ward at
"As an employee, I can really see how run-down the old facility
is," she says. "It will be so exciting to be working in such an
Robyn Monaghan is a mother and long-time journalist.
See more of Robyn's stories here.
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