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February 18, 2014 > Washington Hospital Pediatric Unit Keeps Young Patients Close to Home

Washington Hospital Pediatric Unit Keeps Young Patients Close to Home

Having an infant or young child admitted to the hospital can cause anxious moments for any parent. If the hospital is far away, resulting in a long commute to and from the hospital, the parentsÕ anxiety is compounded Ð especially if there are other children at home to care for or jobs that donÕt allow the parents or other primary caregivers to take much time off from work.

Unlike some hospitals in the East Bay that have decided to close their pediatric units, Washington Hospital has a strong commitment to providing pediatric care for children living in the local area. In October 2013, the hospital moved its Pediatric Unit from the 3rd floor to the 2nd floor, adjacent to the Birthing Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), to further enhance coordination and continuity of care.

ÒFrom a logistics standpoint, it just made sense to have the Pediatric Unit closer to the Birthing Center and Special Care Nursery,Ó says Dr. Lyn Dos Santos, Medical Director of the Pediatric Hospitalist Program at Washington Hospital. ÒIn the new Pediatric Unit, we provide care for children age 13 and under, while care for older children is provided on other floors. With six pediatric hospitalists on staff, we are able to provide coverage for our pediatric patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Ó

The pediatric hospitalists at Washington Hospital are all board-certified pediatricians. In addition to providing examinations and care for newborns in the Birthing Center and Special Care Nursery (which is a Level 2 Intermediate Nursery), young children in the Pediatric Unit and older children on other floors, the hospitalists also see children who are brought in to the hospitalÕs Emergency Room.

Additionally, the hospitalistsÕ expertise and round-the-clock care has enabled Washington Hospital to provide local care, close to home, for many patients who might otherwise have to be transferred to a childrenÕs hospital farther away.

ÒOur patientsÕ parents appreciate being close to home so they can manage the rest of their lives and take care of their other children,Ó says Carolyn Crosby, RN, a Staff Nurse II on the day shift in the Pediatric Unit at Washington Hospital. ÒWe try to keep their world as ÔnormalÕ as possible. Plus, we believe in family-centered care, allowing open visitation for parents or other primary caregivers at any time of day to accommodate those who donÕt work a typical 9-to-5 job. Space permitting, we allow both parents to stay overnight if they want. We also allow healthy siblings of all ages to visit their brother or sister in the hospital. This type of family-centered care has been shown to improve the patient and family hospital experience.Ó

The pediatric nurses at Washington Hospital not only take care of the pediatric patientsÕ medical needs, but also the emotional needs of the patients and their families.

ÒWe support and nurture the parents and siblings to alleviate their fears and let them know we are dedicated to the care of their babies and children,Ó says nurse Crosby. ÒWe encourage parents to be actively involved in their childrenÕs care at the hospital so they will know how to care for them at home once they are discharged. No matter the reason for the patientÕs admission, families tend to have similar concerns and questions. They all require assurance. I am the parentsÕ ally, willing to teach them what they need or want to learn.Ó

The hospitalists and nurses in the Pediatric Unit coordinate patientsÕ care closely with the familiesÕ regular pediatricians and with various specialists, including specialists such as a pediatric cardiologist who performs echocardiograms and other services, and surgeons who perform routine surgeries such as appendectomies.

ÒWe see a wide range of conditions in our patients,Ó says Dr. Dos Santos. ÒIn addition to screening all newborns in the Birthing Center for hearing, metabolic, blood-related and endocrine disorders as required by the state of California, our hospitalists also screen every newborn for jaundice at the same time. On our pediatric floor, the most common conditions we admit include serious asthma episodes, bronchitis, pneumonia, skin infections such as MRSA, gastrointestinal problems and urinary tract infections.Ó

To learn more about the Washington Hospital Pediatric Unit, visit


California Artist Brightens Washington Hospital Pediatric Unit

Just before Christmas 2013, pediatric patients and their parents at Washington Hospital got something to lift their spirits. Noted California artist Robert Bissell licensed 11 of his whimsical prints to the hospital, and they are now on permanent display in the Pediatric Unit on the hospitalÕs 2nd floor.

ÒBeing in a hospital can sometimes be a scary experience for children, and we believe Robert BissellÕs clever artwork will help our young patients and their families feel more comfortable,Ó says Washington Hospital Chief Executive Officer Nancy Farber. ÒHis calming depictions of animals in serene locations or surrounded by swirling butterflies can help ease stressful situations and create a soothing distraction. We are grateful to have this delightful artwork on display.Ó

ÒI had several paintings at the Studio Seven Arts gallery in Pleasanton,Ó Bissell explains. ÒWashington HospitalÕs CEO, Nancy Farber, and a carpenter at Washington Hospital, Paul Heald, both saw the paintings at the gallery and thought the art would be a great way to brighten up the pediatric unit at the hospital. I am pleased to be sharing my work with the pediatric patients there.Ó

Bissell grew up on a farm in England, surrounded by animals and nature, which inspired much of his artwork. He earned a bachelorÕs degree at the Manchester College of Arts and Technology before pursuing post-graduate work in fine art photography at the Royal College of Art in London. After traveling the world, he settled in San Francisco in 1982 to work for The Sharper Image as a photographer, eventually becoming head of the creative and merchandising divisions. From 1992 to 1995, he ran his own catalog company in Portland, Oregon. Then he left the corporate world behind and returned to San Francisco to focus on his art Ð this time as a painter, rather than as a photographer.

ÒI had forgotten why I wanted to be an artist in the first place,Ó he says. ÒI wanted to get that back, and I am glad I did before it was too late.Ó

Bissell is an Òimaginary realistÓ artist whose paintings appeal to adults as well as children. ÒPart of my mission is to have my work appeal to all ages,Ó he says. ÒI want my paintings to reach the intellectual child in all of us, inspiring people to reflect on nature and to have the courage to do what is meaningful for them.Ó

Animals surrounded by butterflies is a recurring theme in many of BissellÕs works, including ÒThe Enchantment,Ó one of the pieces on display at Washington Hospital. ÒThe bears here look skyward, joined by hundreds of swirling butterflies, enticing all of us to share in an uplifting and wondrous moment,Ó he says.

BissellÕs art will definitely be uplifting for the children at Washington Hospital.

For more information about Robert Bissell, visit
Washington Hospital
Tri-City Voice article re: Pediatric Unit & sidebar re: Bissell artwork

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