For 8 years, St. Louis Children's Hospital has been a part of our life. It's where Jaycee's 2 open heart surgeries, 2 eye surgeries, 2 heart ablations, and multiple tests have been conducted. It's where we go to see many of her specialists for routine care and where we go when she's sick and needs emergency care. Basically, we have spent a lot of time there. These are my favorite things about the hospital in no particular order.
1. The sibling playroom: Located in the lower level of the hospital, the playroom is a place where siblings of inpatients can be dropped off and watched by adults sort of like a daycare. It's for ages 2-11. The playroom is open for 3 hour stretches, 1-3x a day depending on the day.
We have utilized the sibling play room multiple times for Elijah. We love having Elijah visit Jaycee in the hospital, but after an hour or so, he's too active for her tiny hospital room. That's when we can take Elijah to the playroom to let him run around and play for awhile. He loves all the toys in the playroom and the snacks. Whenever Elijah comes to visit Jaycee, he always asks if the playroom is open.
2. Family Centered Rounds: The doctors and nurses really make an attempt for families to be apart of rounds in the mornings so that they can give information, ask questions, and understand the plan of care. If we are in Jaycee's room, they always come in and tell us when they are ready to begin discussing her in rounds and invite us to join in. This has changed since a few years ago when sometimes we found out about rounds after the fact even though we were sitting in the room. I really like being involved in rounds so I can ask questions and see what everyone is thinking.
3. The Caring Staff: The doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists that take care of Jaycee are almost always caring, respectful, and nice people. I say almost always because once in awhile you get someone who is a little cold or unfriendly. But for the most part, the staff seem to enjoy what they are doing and value the families they are working with. They frequently ask if we need anything, which is nice because I don't feel like I'm interrupting their work to ask for juice. Even the respiratory therapists ask if we need anything. I hardly ever do, but it's nice to be asked. The other thing that is nice about the staff is that at shift change the nurse that you are familiar with tells you that she is leaving and introduces you to who is taking over. It's nice to be in the know about who is caring for your child.
4. Child Life: Child life does a lot of different things at the hospital but I'll only speak about my experiences with Jaycee. Once in the emergency room, Jaycee was very upset about getting an IV started. A child life specialist came in with the I-Pad with a video familiar to Jaycee to try to distract her from what was going on. It was nice to have this when she was upset. Sometimes the child life people will bring Jaycee toys or other favorite items to keep her calm and happy.
5. The Ronald McDonald Room: This area is located in the hospital and is available for families who have a child that is an inpatient. This "room" has two bathrooms with showers, a laundry area, a small kitchen area, and a living area with a television and computers. It is open during the day (not overnight) and is staffed by volunteers. I go there mainly for the nice showers, which are hard to find for us parents. They also have a closet stocked full of free toiletries for all those things I forgot to pack or didn't have time to get, which is extremely helpful. The laundry area is free to use and free snacks are offered too.
There's other things that are nice about Children's but these are the main ones for us. Hey, if you have to be in the hospital, you might as well be in one you like.