Bringing care to more kids

March 20, 2018

Lurie Children's is growing to provide more children with access to highly specialized care. Expansions abound – increasing inpatient and outpatient capacity, forming new partnerships with hospitals throughout the state, reaching more children who need Lurie Children's expertise.

"We are responding to a growing need for our services," says Patrick Magoon, President and CEO of Lurie Children's. "Our vision is to achieve a healthier future for every child. To put this vision in action, we must expand our clinical capabilities and care for more children."

Particularly striking is the increasing demand for inpatient services. "In fiscal year 2017, we were forced to deny 243 requests for transports from referring hospitals and providers because we did not have an available bed," says Michelle Stephenson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. The pace has only increased since then; from September 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018, the hospital had to refuse another 340 patients. Lurie Children's is addressing this demand through expansion and innovative new initiatives that provide specialized care outside the main hospital.

Expanding intensive care capacity

Construction is underway to increase the number of beds for children needing intensive care. By summer, 44 more beds in the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit and four more Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds will be ready for patients. The hospital will have a total of 136 intensive care beds and 64 NICU beds once this expansion is completed, benefiting more critically ill children. And in 2019, an expansion of the hematology/oncology unit will double the hospital's capacity to serve children with cancer and blood disorders. When all inpatient expansion is completed, the hospital will be operating 360 beds, up by 72 beds from the current capacity.

New ambulatory surgical treatment center, convenient care in Northbrook

Later this year, a 26,000-square foot ambulatory surgical treatment center will open next to Lurie Children's Outpatient Center in Northbrook. "Our new outpatient surgical center will provide easier access to children from the area who need lower acuity surgical services, allowing them to stay closer to home," says Marleta Reynolds, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief and Lydia J. Fredrickson Professor of Pediatric Surgery. The new facility will include four operating rooms, an MRI, all private rooms for pre- and post-operative care, and additional physician office space. And by fall, Northbrook will also be home to Lurie Children's first Convenient Care location outside the city.

New Lenox outpatient expansion

Lurie Children's Outpatient Center in New Lenox recently underwent a 6,000 square foot expansion, allowing more patients to see specialists in orthopaedics and otolaryngology.

Almost Home Kids expands to Peoria

Almost Home Kids (AHK), which is affiliated with Lurie Children's and provides a short-term transitional stay for medically fragile children who are clinically ready for hospital discharge, has signed an agreement with Children's Hospital of Illinois to open a new facility in Peoria. This will be Almost Home Kids' first facility outside the Chicago area, and provides an important service to central Illinois families who need further support through training and equipment education before they can bring their child home safely.

Partnership with Mercyhealth in Rockford

Through a partnership with Mercyhealth in Rockford, Lurie Children's specialists are providing outpatient and inpatient pediatric services in cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery, urology and hematology/oncology. Lurie Children's also will provide 24/7 consultative and telemedicine coverage for neurocritical care and emergency medicine. Mercyhealth serves 2.1 million patients in 11 northern Illinois counties and four southern Wisconsin counties.

New space for teens & youth

A new home for the Division of Adolescent Medicine is under construction near the intersection of North and Clybourn Avenues, on the city's North Side. Opening this fall, the two-story space will feature welcoming, gender-neutral, teen-friendly design and consolidate our research and clinical teams in one location, including the new Substance Use and Prevention Program.

Telemedicine expansion

Children at 23 hospitals throughout Illinois will soon be able to access 24/7 care from Lurie Children's specialists through the Emergency Department (ED) Care Connect telemedicine​ service. "By providing ED telemedicine consultations, we hope to reduce unnecessary transfers and keep kids close to home, while offering the expertise of our specialists," says Dana Schinasi, MD, Medical Director for ED Care Connect. The expansion is supported in part by a federal telemedicine grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Heroes magazine.

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