The new Benjajmin Russell Hospital for children is an expansion of Chilldrens of Alabama, one of the 10 busiest pediatric hospitals in the nation, is home to Alabama's only pediatric trauma center and the only pediatric burn center in the Southeast.
Published: February 27, 2013
By: Lori Chandler Pruitt
The $400 million Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, an expansion of Children’s of Alabama, opened to patients in August 2012.
The expansion made the hospital the third largest pediatric hospital in the U.S., and represents the largest single medical facility expansion project in the history of Alabama.
Only a block away from the original hospital building, the new hospital not only has the latest in technology and energy efficiency – along with tons of natural light and magnificent views of the city – but most importantly of all, it is designed with families in mind.
Some of amenities of the new hospital include private acute care rooms that are 30 percent larger than the largest rooms in the present hospital. All are the same size and configuration. Each room features a sleeper sofa, large wardrobe and small safe for valuables, along with a special patient education/entertainment system. Each patient floor offers a laundry room and a kitchen equipped with a full-size refrigerator, microwave and ice machine. The NICU also has shower facilities on the floor.
“One of the real objectives was to make our facility family-centered. By that I mean we wanted to have rooms big enough so that mom and dad could be in that room and they could be part of that care team,” says Mike Warren, president and CEO of Children’s.
The hospital also has a patient education center, a family resource center with computers, “Room of Magic” theatre, meditation space, a lactation room, a performance stage for use by community groups and a “Go Store” that also will sell coffee and sandwiches.
The hospital also includes a new helipad that can handle the landing of a Black Hawk military helicopter, often used during rescue operations in disasters.
The expansion also adds pediatric transplant and pediatric cardiology, making it the only comprehensive pediatric health care facility in the state. It is bridged into the existing facility, as well as to UAB Women and Infants Center. The hospital’s bed license increases from 275 to 332.
Other than a user-friendly, pleasing design, the hospital also was designed and built with the environment in mind. It will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified health care facility in Alabama.
Existing buildings will be renovated for other hospital purposes.
Children’s, one of the 10 busiest pediatric hospitals in the nation, is home to Alabama’s only pediatric trauma center and the only pediatric burn center in the Southeast. It has been providing care since 1911. It recently was named one of the Best Children’s Hospitals in U.S. News and World Report in several care categories. Learn more about Children’s of Alabama at www.childrensal.org.
Lori Chandler Pruitt is associate editor of Birmingham Parent.