Members of Hopkins Children’s Family Advisory Council (FAC) toured The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, Wednesday, Mar. 21. For most, the guided tour was their first of the new building, which opens to the public May 1. Wonder and delight were evident throughout.
“We’re entering a very different world, but one still focused on devoting every hour of every day to the patients and families in our care,” Hopkins Children’s Director George Dover, M.D., told the FAC families and pediatric staff assembled for a reception in their honor and a tour. “You each have made a difference in the lives of Children’s Center patients and parents.”
Over the years, FAC members have been consulted on multiple aspects of the new building, and offered input on moving patients safely into the new building, “so parents’ ideas are valued and, more importantly, implemented,” said Pam Griffin, co-chair of the FAC and Hopkins Children’s full-time Parent Advisor.
From the Johns Hopkins Phipps Lobby that afternoon, they first stopped at “Sara’s Garden” in the courtyard outside the new building. Drawn from the images of The Little Prince, the garden captures interactive elements from the children’s story such as volcanoes, a water pump and birds in flight.
“I can relax out here,” said FAC member Tony Joyce, laughing.
The next stop was Bloomberg Children’s Center’s four-story atrium, where one among the menagerie of sculptures – a huge ostrich –created for the building by New York set designer Robert Israel, was being hoisted up toward the ceiling.
“Cool,” said FAC member Aron Katz, gazing up at the ostrich.
They noted the wide pedestrian bridge that leads directly into a neighboring garage, and the sunlight streaming in through the building’s glass exterior. Entering the visitor elevator lobby, a cheer was heard when their tour guide mentioned that the wait for an elevator would not exceed 40 seconds. Along their route, FAC members contemplated the curated artwork, based on children’s literature; examined family amenities on patient units, such as kitchenettes, consultation rooms and family lounges; and tested the comfort of the furniture they had help select for parents. “Everything is so homey,” said one.
“The experience for parents will be like night and day,” said Loretta Wall, former director of social work at Hopkins Children’s, now retired, and a participant in the early planning for the building. “This place is just so wonderful: the openness, scale, artwork and amenities for patients and families. It’s like a dream come true.”
First established as a small steering committee in 2007, FAC is today a self-sustaining committee influencing almost every aspect of hospital operations, including the official adaptation of patient- and family-centered care at Hopkins Children’s, as well as programs and amenities planned for The Bloomberg Children’s Center.
FAC: Offering input on moving into a new hospital