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Floating Hospital’s “Comfort Corner” makes a child’s procedure a positive experience

04/01/2013

New unit built entirely with donations

Awash in muted but cheerful greens and yellows, Floating Hospital’s new pediatric sedation unit – aptly nicknamed the Comfort Corner – offers children and their families a supportive atmosphere as they are prepared for imaging or minor procedures.

The new unit – the first of its kind in Boston for children - was built entirely with donations, including a major gift from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern New England. For a number of years, Floating Hospital has had a dedicated pediatric sedation team based in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, but the service has outgrown its original home. With more space, the new unit will provide the sedation team with the ability to see more patients in less time, which should cut down considerably on waits for non-emergency procedures such as MRIs.

“It’s great to have a child-friendly place where children can have their procedures done with minimal discomfort and appropriate sedation in a safe and controlled manner,” says Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Rashed Durgham, MD. “We look forward to providing a very child-friendly experience, to limit the stress on patients and their families.”

An Experienced and Dedicated Team

Clinical Nursing Director for the Sedation Service Laura O’Garro, RN oversees the new facility with Durgham. “We have a very experienced and caring team of nurses in pediatric sedation, and we will be adding to that team” she says. “Some children, particularly those being treated for various types of cancer, need frequent sedations for procedures and imaging. We’re really pleased that they and their families will now have an environment that’s as comforting to them as our staff is.”

Pediatric sedation nurses Carole McCarthy, RN and Alice Rose, RN are known for their dedication to the patients in their care– a commitment that has included coming to work on their days off when one of their patients needs to have sedation that day. In 2012 the two were jointly honored with a “True Blue”[LINK to True Blue page] award, Floating Hospital and Tufts Medical Center’s highest award for employees who demonstrate remarkable dedication.

Important for kids with frequent procedures

McCarthy said she said she is particularly pleased that some of the children they see on an ongoing basis, such as leukemia patients who face a three-year course of treatment, now have a more comfortable location in which to receive some of their vital care. Sedation for patients who face repeat procedures is particularly important to avoid traumatizing kids or creating intensely negative memories of receiving medical care. “Children with leukemia, for example, go through many stressful and painful treatments, and it’s life-changing for the family and the child. And if you’re asking a child to have a lumbar puncture every week for a period of time and then every month for a time thereafter, they may have a horrible memory of the pain without sedation,” she says. “We have children who come to us and they skip into the room, wondering what “prize” we’re going to reward them with that day. We sedate them, the procedure is performed, they recover and then skip out. It becomes a positive experience, not a negative one.”