Hospital stays can be scary -- especially for kids.
But the new pediatric center at Kadlec Regional Medical Center will go a long way toward easing fears and welcoming young patients and their families.
The Don & Lori Watts Pediatric Center opens this week. Like much of the community, we took advantage of the many chances for the public to get a sneak peak.
If you've seen it, you know why we're excited.
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If you missed the tours, here's an inadequate overview. The previous pediatric unit had 17 semi-private rooms. The new unit has 20 private rooms. They're not gaining any bed space, but each room is kid- and family-friendly.
Couches fold down to hide-a-way beds for parents. The TV system includes on-demand movies and video games. The whole floor is decorated with an ocean theme, and each room has its own critter.
One extra nice feature is the family room. It's like an apartment complete with a kitchen, laundry room and big screen TV, where families can gather, relax and share a meal.
The unit's director, Dr. Josh Weldin, told us it is the nicest facility he's ever seen. We're not doctors, but it we have to agree that it's top notch.
A big chunk of the funding for this project came from the Kadlec Foundation, which raised $7.4 million from hundreds of open hearts and wallets. Especially notable donors are Don and Lori Watts, namesakes of the unit, and Leola Condotta, in memory of her husband Denny. If you have the chance to visit you'll see a sign for Condotta Cove.
We would rather that all children are healthy, but when they're not the new unit will take much of the anxiety out of their hospital stays.