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Family Centered Care at The Children's Place

The Children's Place, a family-centered inpatient unit for children and adolescents, was designed so families can be together when kids need inpatient medical care.

A children's hospital within a hospital, the 17-private-room Child and Adolescent Unit on Lowell General Hospital's second floor is brightly decorated and arranged so parents can visit at any time or stay with their children overnight.

"One of the worst parts of hospitalization for children is separating from family, from mothers. This makes it as homelike as possible, with the full support of the family," said Michael Gilchrist, M.D., a pediatrician at Lowell General Hospital.

Years ago, parents were excluded from hospitals or limited to certain visiting hours. Brothers and sisters weren't allowed. The Children's Place not only encourages parents to be there and stay with the children, but encourages them to join the nursing staff in taking a role in the care of their children. Mothers can help take care of their own children, feeding and bathing them. Siblings are welcome to visit, but please check with your child's physician first. Children with certain diagnoses cannot have visitors under the age of 13.

There are lovely, huge over-stuffed chairs, color coordinated with the rooms and big enough for a parent to fit and cuddle a child. At night, they unfold like a convertible sleeper into a twin-sized bed. Each room is equipped with its own television and VCR.

A family room, stocked with more toys for all ages and a television/VCR along with a complete library of videos, offers a place for patients and families to relax.

Security is a priority at The Children's Place. The top-notch security system limits guests on the floor to family and friends and keeps even adventuresome children safe and sound.

An added benefit of The Children's Place is reducing the need to take sick children to Boston for exceptional pediatric care.

"This becomes less and less necessary as facilities here become better," Dr. Gilchrist said. "It's also less likely to happen because many patients are kept in the local area because of restrictions of their insurance companies. So we want to be sure that the facilities they see at Lowell General are as good or better than they can see in a tertiary center in Boston."

Lowell General Hospital provides pediatric specialty clinics, bringing the expertise of some of Boston's best pediatric specialists to your community hospital. Lowell General Hospital provides clinics in genetics, gastroenterology, cardiology and pulmonology.

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