For teens and young adults facing long, difficult battles with cancer, and their families, little things such as a private room, fridge, bathroom, shower, large flat-screen television, mood lighting and expansive views make a big difference. And they’re all in the mix at the country’s first dedicated cancer unit for teens and young adults on the eighth floor of the new building at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Geared toward patients ages 13–29, the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) inpatient cancer unit provides specialized services, such as physical therapists, an AYA psychologist and a child life specialist, as well as psychosocial programs, from talking groups to Wii tournaments, that encourage patients to engage with and support each other. A physical therapy gym, lounges and rooms equipped with sleeper sofas are among the many amenities available to patients and their families.
Building Hope, which opened in April, adds 330,000 square feet of space to the Seattle Children’s campus for expanded cancer, critical and emergency care. “With this new building, we’re taking the steps necessary to assure families throughout the region that they can always count on Seattle Children’s to meet their child’s urgent and complex medical needs,” says Dr. Douglas Hawkins, Seattle Children’s associate division chief of Hematology/Oncology. Not only does the expansion meet a growing need for patient beds, the new facility emphasizes increased patient and family comfort, and provides a positive, supportive atmosphere throughout treatment. It’s also better for the planet, as it’s expected to use 40 percent less energy and 30 percent less water than what would typically be used in a similar-size facility.