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John Muir Health and Stanford Children's Health to Open Contra Costa County’s First Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in 2015

Partnership with Stanford’s Children’s Health develops hospital unit with local pediatric specialists, advanced technology

Walnut Creek, Calif. (October 14, 2014) – John Muir Health announced today it will open a new pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in its Walnut Creek medical center through a partnership with Stanford’s Children’s Health in January 2015. The inpatient hospital unit will be the first of its kind to serve Contra Costa County, offering critical care for children in local and surrounding communities.

“A child’s illness can be an overwhelming experience for families, especially when they have to travel far distances to receive the care they need. This new pediatric unit staffed by top specialists passionate about their patients offers a healing environment that allows patients and families to remain close to home,” said Beth Lannon, EdD, executive director of Children’s Specialty Services at John Muir Health.

The PICU is designed to allow health care providers to care for sick and injured children ages 0 to 18. These experts will be able to treat a wide range of conditions, such as congenital heart and neurological disorders, scoliosis, diabetes and respiratory problems.

In addition to critical care specialists from Stanford Children’s Health, the PICU will be staffed by a child life specialist who will work closely with patients and families as well as doctors, nurses, social workers and others to address the emotional, developmental and cultural needs of each child and family.

“We are thrilled to offer a critical care unit designed with advanced equipment and technology that will enhance our ability to meet the needs of each individual patient,” said Robert Kadas, MD, chair of the Pediatrics Department at John Muir Health. “The PICU continues John Muir Health’s ongoing commitment to deliver high-quality care to patients.”

That care is enhanced by teams that specialize in diagnosing and managing children with life-threatening, critical illnesses. “Our intensivists are leaders in treating and managing the full spectrum of primary critical illnesses in children, or those requiring intensive care to recover after major surgery,” said Deborah Franzon, MD, medical director of pediatric intensive care at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health.

The structure of the new inpatient unit includes eight private rooms adjacent to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric units. Each room is structured to accommodate parents and family staying overnight. With funding from the John Muir Health Foundation, the new PICU rooms will be outfitted with equipment and furniture appropriately sized for younger patients, as well as adult-sized amenities for parents and families such as sleep chairs, a family lounge, and kitchen.

John Muir Health and Stanford Children's Health began their partnership in 2012 to provide access to comprehensive children’s specialty services for families in Contra Costa County and surrounding communities. The collaboration includes a growing number of surgical and medical services, as well as outpatient, inpatient, neonatal and emergency care, which enables children with conditions ranging from allergies or bedwetting to more complex illnesses to see Stanford Children's Health specialists locally through John Muir Health.

"We listened to families in our community, and through our strong partnership with Stanford Children's Health we are able to provide access to leading specialists and a broad range of pediatric services locally," said Jane Willemsen, president and CAO of John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek. "The new PICU will enhance those services, build on our already strong foundation of pediatric care and enable us to offer the most comprehensive children’s services of any community health system."

“Our partnership with John Muir Health has been extremely successful,” said Christopher G. Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health. “Increasing access and convenience to the extraordinary care at our hospitals provides a wonderful resource for the communities John Muir Health serves.”

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