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Children's Hospital Los Angeles moves into new high-tech building

June 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been around a long time. When it was founded, doctors rode on horseback and the city had a population of 102,000.

Soon they'll be adding more beds and high-tech equipment. But the hospital says they'll still hang onto the many things that have always made it special.

Mary Dee Hacker, vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer, started at Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a nurse 36 years ago. Back then parents were only allowed to visit their kids on Sunday afternoons. Children's Hospital helped pioneer family-centered care.

"When they are sick, the best place for a parent to be is right beside their child," said Hacker.

The room has everything a parent needs: a pullout bed, a built-in workspace that pulls out. The entire room is equipped with Wi-Fi, and it even has a webcam so you can videoconference with relatives.

"The hospital rooms are really family rooms where parents are invited and encouraged to stay with their children the entire time they're hospitalized," said Hacker.

The way care is delivered has changed dramatically in four decades.

Children's Hospital history spans 110 years. It started as a four-bedroom house in Chinatown where doctors made house calls by horseback.

Thursday's addition now makes it most technologically advanced in the nation. Yet the hospital's old-fashioned values remain the same.

"We create hope and healthy futures," said Hacker.

The new seven-story building is 460,000 square feet. It will have 317 beds, and 85 percent will be private rooms. It'll have plenty places for families to spread out.

On July 17, the emergency room will be moved to the new facility along with all the patients.

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