Children's Cancer Hospital Opens New Combination Inpatient and Outpatient Unit

New and unique space consolidates pediatric treatment services on one floor with patient amenities

MD Anderson News Release 06/21/13

Designed by patients and families
Patients and family caregivers worked alongside architects and hospital staff designing the floor, weighing in on everything from pod names that reflect favorite nature scenes and earth-tone colors to furniture and room layouts.

“We all had a number of opinions and were able to share our different perspectives and give our input for the floor design,” said Jerry Mortus, a member of the hospital’s Family Advisory Council and a patient’s father. “We’re the ones using the space, so it was great to contribute our ideas and have them valued so we can help make it the best unit it can be.”

“It was great being a part of the planning process,” said Alma Faz, a long-time osteosarcoma and ovarian cancer survivor and Young Adult Advisory Council member. “I feel like we left our legacy, in some way, by ensuring the new space would be better for future patients.”

Centralized treatment unique to Texas Medical Center
The new floor is more than double the size of the previous space and houses outpatient treatment areas and private inpatient rooms, stem cell transplantation and intensive care services in one place – a first for pediatric oncology in the Houston area. For patients who may need specialized services such as intensive or intermediate care, the transition is seamless, allowing the patient to receive more specialized care without having to change floors or even rooms.

“This is a very exciting time for our patients and employees,” said Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D., head of MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. “Aside from centralizing the medical care, this new space allows outpatients and inpatients to interact in a more secure environment with one another and participate more easily in the hospital’s accredited school program and other activities.”

The larger space brings together several fun features for patients as well, such as customized LED lighting and gaming systems in the patient rooms, a classroom using SMART board technology and interactive distance learning, plus the Hoglund Foundation PediDome – a recreational area with a teen room, activity room and the Vara Martin Daniel Children’s Play Park. The floor also has its own pharmacy and family laundry area for added convenience.

Ronald McDonald House expansion
In addition, the expansion allows for an expanded, on-site partnership with Ronald McDonald House Houston.

“We’re thrilled about the Ronald McDonald Family Room spaces overseen by our staff and volunteers and the number of families we can serve at one time,” said Greg Looser, board president of Ronald McDonald House Houston. “There’s a fabulous intensive care waiting area with an aquarium, two sleep rooms for caregivers, a family lounge and kitchen, so we can continue serving our famous chocolate chip cookies.”

Patients began moving into Floor 9 on June 4, with the last group of patients moving up from the pediatric intensive care unit on Monday, June 24. To celebrate, Sunshine Kids will host a welcome party with the hospital for patients that day.

“The Children’s Cancer Hospital is a hospital within a hospital, and this space was designed to be their home away from home,” said Kleinerman. “We have a special team of experts here, and we’re all tethered to the same mission. We're motivated to provide the best cancer care and novel therapies for children, adolescents and young adults, and to provide support along the way so that they can lead fulfilling lives as survivors. This new unit complements our work and demonstrates our commitment.”