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Hospital's new pediatric room open house is Friday

The Johnson County Hospital Foundation has been hard at work raising monies for projects that will have a direct and positive impact on Johnson Countians here at home. On Friday, March 4th, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., the public is invited to an open house celebrating the opening of a pediatric emergency room.
One of the primary focuses for the Johnson County Hospital Foundation is addressing the needs of their youngest patients. Arriving into an adult emergency room is often frightening for children, their parents and family. “When you walk into an adult emergency room, children are scared,” said Johnson County Community Hospital administrator, Lisa Heaton. When patients walk into this room, designed to calm and soothe patients and families, the mural in the middle of the room is one of the first things that is noticed. Across the back wall are the words, “You are my sunshine.”
Karen Clark, the liaison between Johnson County Community Hospital Foundation and Mountain States Foundation, said, “The pediatric room is totally designed to meet the needs of our pediatric patients.”
According to Heaton, Johnson County Community Hospital sees approximately 10,000 patients a year, with over 25 percent being pediatric patients. They come in for a variety of reasons, the flu, strep throat and viruses. They often need x-rays, IVs, stitches and blood drawn for laboratory testing, an experience that can be especially frightening for children.
The pediatric room at Johnson County Community Hospital was modeled after the Niswonger Children's Hospital, part of Johnson City Medical Center. The hope is that the familiar décor will help soothe both the children and the families should the child need to be transported to another facility.
The room itself cost over $15,000. The walls are painted a soft, soothing shade of blue. On one of the walls, patients will find calming artwork; a tree, children flying a kite and releasing a balloon, along with birds and butterflies. Heaton described a little girl walking into the room for the first time, looking around and with a big breath and declaring, “Wow!”
In the middle of the floor, patients will see more artwork, a large and colorful daisy. When patients lie down on the stretcher, their eyes are drawn upward to the special lighting on the ceiling. Several women from East Tennessee State University developed the lighting, designed to have a calming effect on children. The colors of the lights change from soft shades of blue to green. The room is equipped with a pediatric crib that breaks down into a stretcher and a pediatric wheelchair. There are plans to put in a small bench for children to sit on, along with a rocker for parents to sit and cuddle their children. There is also a flat screen television to help distract patients and families.
Heaton says the room has been used for the general patient population, and they have found it helps calm patients with early dementia. The staff at Johnson County Community Hospital have observed that parents themselves seem to be less tense and nervous while they are awaiting medical attention for their child in the new and much-anticipated pediatric room.
The pediatric emergency room was made possible through the generosity of the family of Paris Sunshine Powell Wilson.