A renovated room at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio and Vistamatic privacy window. Image courtesy of Christus Santa Rosa Health System.
A renovated room at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio and Vistamatic privacy window. Image courtesy of Christus Santa Rosa Health System.

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio announced Friday the completion of a state-of-the-art renovation of the eighth and ninth floors of its pediatric care facility on Santa Rosa Street, hosting a dedication and blessing for associates, physicians, hospital leaders, and media.

“This is a wonderful chance to celebrate the great health care available in San Antonio,” said Elias Neujahr, president of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

Design and construction teams began work almost two years ago to create the first free-standing children’s hospital in San Antonio.

“This is the first of many exciting transformations and momentous occasions as we transform the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio into the crown jewel of children’s medicine in downtown San Antonio and continue to deliver on our promise to provide comfort and healing for all children and families,” Neujahr said.

Both floors of the hospital will open later this month to provide care to hematology and oncology patients. The eighth floor will be the inpatient unit of the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and will welcome patients on Oct. 23. The ninth floor will house the special medicine unit and inpatient unit of the Physical Rehabilitation Center, ushering in its first patients Oct. 27.

Two rooms on the eighth floor are positive pressure isolation rooms built to prevent contagions from entering the room, and four of the rooms on the ninth floor are equipped with a patient lift device and tracking system providing assistance to patients with limited mobility. The ninth floor also has the ability to convert two individual rooms to a larger room for dual sibling patients.

Children's Hospital of San Antonio President Elias Neujahr said the new eighth and ninth floors of the hospital offer world-class health care to children and a commitment to kids and families in a healing environment. Photo by Katherine Nickas.
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio President Elias Neujahr during the grand opening of two renovated floors in the hospital. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

The new floors are designed in the “Spirit of San Antonio,” with bright yellow and green ceilings, walls, and floor space.

Each floor now has a children’s playroom, a team room, a centralized nurses’ station, 20 private patient rooms, and a family lounge complete with washer, dryer, and kitchen.

Along with the new world-class facility, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has teamed up with more than 150 Baylor College of Medicine physicians and community private practice physicians to create a network committed to providing seamless health care services for the children of San Antonio and beyond.

The design of the new space is aimed at creating an open, inviting, wide space for families while healing and improving the health of children, noted Baylor College pediatrician Mark Gilger during the opening ceremonies.

“Prior to this, the Christus Santa Rosa hospital was a small children’s hospital within the larger Christus Santa Rosa Health System,” he said. “Children are not young adults, however. They have special needs – they need the best possible facility and care from doctors, pediatric surgeons, and specialists. This new facility will be a jewel for the city and a great part of the healing process in children’s health care.”

Trisha Montague, the chief nursing officer for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, said the hospital sought input from families on the new facility’s design. Circular lighting was installed to create a spiritual, flowing and healing environment.

A renovated room at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio featuring lime green paint, a sitting area that converts to a day bed for family members, and Vistamatic privacy window. Image courtesy of Christus Santa Rosa Health System.
A renovated room at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio featuring lime green paint, a sitting area that converts to a day bed for family members, and Vistamatic privacy window. Image courtesy of Christus Santa Rosa Health System. Credit: Courtesy / Christus Santa Rosa Health System

“When we started, we sought to improve patient safety, experience, efficiency and spirituality through the new floors,” she said. “We also wanted it to be family centered and sought input from families and parents through our Parent Advisory Board. We designed the rooms with family sofas that convert to a twin-sized bed for sleeping. We wanted these new rooms to really feel like family rooms rather than industrial settings, so that families can populate the rooms with their own personal touch.

“It won’t ever feel like home, but we wanted to give it a more welcoming ambience,” Montague said.

She pointed out the new features of a rehabilitation room on the ninth floor which includes built-in magnetic marking boards for care information, children’s activities and art displays, electronic charting stations, built-in sinks, and new bathrooms offering facilities for family members as well as patients.

The nurses’ stations have security codes to provide safe places for nurses to work.

University of the Incarnate Word Sister Sarah Lennon gives a blessing during the ceremony on the ninth floor of the Children's Hospital of San Antonio. Photo by Katherine Nickas.
University of the Incarnate Word Sister Sarah Lennon gives a blessing during the ceremony on the ninth floor of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

The ceremony included a blessing from Sister Sarah Lennon of the University of the Incarnate Word. The speakers paid their respect to the original three sisters who traveled to San Antonio from Galveston to begin the Santa Rosa Infirmary in 1869.

After the ceremony, volunteers and hospital staff walked the new corridors to bless the new hallways, rooms and beds with holy water.

Construction continues on the rest of the project with more phases expected to open later this year and into 2015 including two new floors in the hospital’s emergency department scheduled for completion this winter. The majority of patient care areas will be completed by next fall.

“The pediatric population in Bexar County is projected to grow by almost 18% over the next 20 years,” said Pat Carrier, president and CEO of Christus Santa Rosa Health System. “This is just the beginning of great things for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.”

St. Mary's University Professor Duane Miller and Christus Santa Rosa Director of Volunteer Services Christine Gonzalez bless the rooms on the ninth floor of the Children's Hospital of San Antonio. Photo by Katherine Nickas.
St. Mary’s University Professor Duane Miller and Christus Santa Rosa Director of Volunteer Services Christine Gonzalez bless the rooms on the ninth floor of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

*Featured image: A renovated room at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and Vistamatic privacy window. Image courtesy of Christus Santa Rosa Health System.

Related stories:

SA2020 Issues San Antonio Report Card

Health Care Summit Reveals Bexar County Challenges

How One Strong Woman Promotes Early Mammogram Screenings

A Downtown Medical School Moves One Step Closer to Reality

 Made in San Antonio Robots Zap Deadly Hospital Infections

Katherine Nickas

Katherine Nickas was born in San Antonio near Fort Sam Houston but grew up in southern Indiana. In 2007, she began working for Indiana AgriNews where she covered topics ranging from corn and soybean production...