There are also special areas to accommodate children with emotional problems, learning disabilities and mental illness. There is an emphasis on the whole being, not just the body. Pediatrics is paving the way for medicine to move into considering the psychological, social and emotional care to support the physical care of not just the child but their extended families.
"This is an incredible therapeutic milieu," Smith said. "This is about health and not just medicine."
In essence, Smith said this is exactly where healthcare reform has to go -- children are going to be front and center as they are the adults of the future and they will eventually be taking care of us.
According to Rodgers the GCH is not just a building within a building, but rather an advocacy organization for children's wellness. Children only come to the hospital when they are very sick. Upstate has an extensive outreach program for ill children being cared for in their homes that stretches into 17 counties.
Having the children's care contained on the two floors of Upstate's new addition means the patients don't have to be moved around the hospital. Each child and their extended family will have a room to themselves. This will enable the family unit to keep functioning with structure that is so important for development and wellness.
"The first focus clearly has to be the child," Welch said, "But the stress of an illness weighs heavily on the parents and siblings." He said children clearly do better when their families are around and rather than just allowing for it, they are facilitating this type of environment.
Beyond the patient's bed there is a window with a Syracuse cityscape, a desk area for the patient, a flat screen television and a play station. There is an area for nurses to wash small children and a full bathroom facility to accommodate the whole family. Speaking of the family, each room includes an area for visiting family members to relax, and if necessary, to operate their day to day business from a computer. They do not have to leave their child's bedside.