“We want to be here to serve all the community’s needs, so we want them to come for every type of illness,” Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Melissa Cossey said. “We want to be that safety net and that place that they learn to trust and use for all their pediatric needs.”
Located at the corner of Avery Ranch Boulevard and 183A, the 187,000-square-foot hospital has four floors dedicated to various areas of pediatric health care and treatment.
On the first floor is a Level 3 Trauma Center with 18 emergency bays, two trauma bays, an imaging center and an outpatient retail pharmacy. Operating rooms, endoscopy suites and a sleep lab are all located on the second floor of the hospital.
A total of 36 hospital beds will be located on the hospital’s third floor, along with a Ronald McDonald House two-bedroom suite and family respite space.
“We have 24 acute care beds and 12 high-risk [pediatric intensive care unit] beds ... those can be utilized in flexible manners,” Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Heckenlively said. “If we had kiddos that were really high risk and needed PICU space, we can flow over and expand our space, vice versa, if children only needed acute care, we can expand space too, so that 36 beds can be really flexible.”
The hospital’s fourth floor has a shelled space that allows for the expansion of 36 more beds, if needed, to accommodate growth in the future.
On-site hospital-based services include respiratory therapy, sedation, radiology, lab work, wound care, endoscopy, a chaplain, and social work and case management. Fetal medicine, general pediatric surgery, neurology, child and adolescent mental health, a sleep center, and several more services will also be available on-site at the Medical Office Building.
Currently, Dell Children’s Medical Center North is the only pediatric facility in the Northwest Austin area. It is the “only place where children can be seen by pediatric-trained physicians” that are in-house 24/7, Cossey said.
Heckenlively said with children being a large part of the spike in population growth in the area, there became a need for accessible pediatric health care.
“With the general population growth that occurred within northern communities, one of the populations that expanded the largest in that growth was children,” she said. “So the need for that readily access to health care grew with that, definitely.”
Because Dell Children’s is a pediatric-focused hospital, Cossey said, there are nature-themed paintings and murals throughout the facility to help with the child patients' comfort levels.
“Because it’s a pediatric-focused facility, you’ll see things that make children feel more comfortable or things that are a little bit more fun than more adult-oriented facilities,” she said. “Our imaging department, everything has a lot of really cool graphic elements that are fun for the children, and all the staff here, we all just want to make sure that children are comfortable and can receive their care without the usual fear that accompanies that.”
Heckenlively said that she is also working out arrangements with pet therapy volunteers to come out and be a part of the hospital team. Pet therapy has not been fully secured yet, however.
On April 12, Dell Children’s Medical Center North will be hosting its Community Open House from 4:30-8:30 p.m., which will include a tour of the facility and a drone light show finale. The hospital is slated to open April 27. https://healthcare.ascension.org