UF Health marks opening of pediatric cardiac intensive care unit
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital celebrated the grand opening of its pediatric cardiac intensive care unit on Friday.
The unit’s transformation from administrative offices to advanced clinical space to provide highly specialized care to patients with congenital heart disease embodies UF Health’s commitment to create a family-focused children’s hospital.
“We’re thrilled to have transformed what was administrative space into a best-in-class facility where our outstanding faculty, nurses and other members of the care team can make miracles happen every day for kids with congenital heart disease,” said Dr. David S. Guzick, UF senior vice president for health affairs and UF Health president. “This is one more example of the progress we’ve made in achieving the goals set out in UF Health’s strategic plan, ‘Forward Together,’ which places the patient at the center of everything we do.”
Located on the 10th floor of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the 18,000-square-foot pediatric cardiac intensive care unit includes 23 private patient rooms, each with its own bathroom and shower. The rooms feature ceiling-mounted exam lights, ceiling-mounted patient-lifting systems, and a kid-friendly gaming station and television. Each room also has a nurse’s alcove in the corridor with monitoring systems for patient observation.
“We have done such a good job even in the current system,” said Dr. Mark Bleiweis, director and principal cardiothoracic surgeon for the UF Health Congenital Heart Center. “We are going to have more space, more beds and more access. It’s recognition of the great work by our team of physicians and nurses, and it speaks to UF Health’s commitment to taking care of kids with congenital heart disease.”
The new PCICU will double as a general pediatric intensive care unit until mid-spring while the current PICU undergoes renovation. Patients are scheduled to move into the new unit Jan. 15.
“We’re fulfilling our promise to expand outstanding pediatric care at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and make it even more accessible to the families who need us,” said Tim Goldfarb, UF Health Shands CEO. “We’re matching physical resources with the incredible human intellectual firepower and capital across the organization. We’re united and energized by a common focus and passion — our patients.”
One of those patients is Ginny Lee Haeseler, 3, whose parents, Jason and Rachel Haeseler, spoke at the grand opening event. Ginny was born with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect in which the aorta and pulmonary artery are crisscrossed.
“On the program for today’s event, this spot was listed simply as ‘grateful parent’; truer words have never been written,” Jason Haeseler said. “Indeed, we are grateful for what everyone at UF Health and the Congenital Heart Center has done for our family, and for so many families like ours.”