HOLSTON VALLEY PRESENTS RENOVATED PEDIATRICS DEPARTMENT

 

KINGSPORT – For a child, it’s scary to be sick. It’s even scarier to spend time in a hospital away from the comforts of home.

But thanks to generous donors all over the region and the Children’s Miracle Network, Holston Valley Medical Center’s pediatrics department now has a little bit of home in each room.

The department recently completed a $250,000 renovation project funded by CMN. The renovations were unveiled in a dedication ceremony today.

“There was a need in this department,” Holston Valley President Bert Whitaker said. “We have always been able to treat our younger patients’ bodies, but we also want to engage their minds and ease their souls.

“We decided to have fun with this. We did things with the kids in mind – not just the adults.”

While many of the renovations focus on improvements to plumbing, flooring, ceilings and lighting, the most noticeable changes are on the walls, where local artist Suzanne Barrett Justis has created another world.

Several nature-themed murals line the halls, each mural populated with animals and wildlife native to Northeast Tennessee. Every patient room has art painted on the walls, although sometimes the crawling critters aren’t that obvious.

“There are a few pictures you have to look for,” said Marsha Helton, RN, director of women’s and children’s services. “But with kids, it’s the little things that catch their eye. If the child is in pain or scared, something like a picture of a tiny bug on the wall can be a distraction.”

As can new cabinets – complete with new televisions and VCRs – in each patient room. Even the new curtains in the rooms are kid-themed – they feature fun shadow puppet characters and instructions on how to create them.

“As a Planetree hospital, we recognize a healing environment – an environment in which you feel safe and comfortable – is essential to getting better,” said Janet Brown, chairman of the Holston Valley board of directors. “Just as we focus on caring for a patient’s total needs, we realize we’re caring for an entire family when a child is involved.”

The department’s lounge and family kitchen also received upgrades thanks to the CMN funds.

 “These improvements would not have been possible without the generosity and compassion of the people and businesses in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia,” Brown said. “Those donations will help us comfort a frightened child, put a smile on the face of worried parent and – most importantly – send healthy kids home.”

CMN was founded in 1983 to help improve the quality of life of sick children and each year raises millions of dollars nationally for children’s hospitals. CMN represents 170 children’s hospitals around the country, including the hospitals of Wellmont Health System. All of the money raised locally by CMN stays in the greater Tri-Cities area.

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