Today, timed with World Kidney Day, Seattle Children's Hospital announced the opening of its newly renovated dialysis unit. The unit will significantly improve patient comfort and safety compared to its predecessor facility, and includes an additional 630 square feet of space for a total of nearly 2,400 square feet.

Children's conducted focus groups with dialysis patient families to gather input on the design of the new unit. Design elements used in dialysis units of other leading hospitals were also incorporated into the space. In addition, during the planning process Children's facilities team created a life-size mock-up of the unit to allow the clinical team to provide design feedback.

Key improvements include:

- The addition of two dialysis chairs to support treatment of up to 14 patients a day. This is a 40% increase from the previous ten patients a day maximum. The unit now houses a total of seven chairs.

- A central nurses' station allowing nurses to easily see all patients during treatment. This visual element is critical, and allows for close supervision and quicker response times during treatment.

- New reverse osmosis (RO) system to create medical-grade water. The pure water this system produces is essential to providing safe dialysis. The new RO replaces an older system.

- More storage space for patients. New space includes a unique storage unit that will permit each patient to keep games, toys and other personal belongings in his or her own bin, helping to create a more familiar and comfortable environment.

- The use of mobile carts between patient stations. Mobile carts are used in lieu of fixed cabinets, providing for greater flexibility and more effective use of space.

- Enhanced privacy features including opaque art glass that separates the family waiting area from the rest of the unit.

- New flooring designed to absorb sound and to provide a more comfortable working surface for staff.

- Televisions with DVD players mounted on mechanical arms that allow screens to be positioned close to the patient for more comfortable viewing.

During construction of the new space, a separate interim dialysis clinic was constructed so patients could continue to receive uninterrupted on-site treatment.

"The development of our new dialysis unit was highly strategic, incorporating many continuous performance improvement (CPI) principles including the process of actively engaging our staff and patient families to partake in making design decisions," says Joseph Flynn, MD, MS, Medical Director of Dialysis Services at Seattle Children's. "This collaborative approach helped us build the most state-of-the art pediatric dialysis unit in Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho."

World Kidney Day

While many of Seattle Children's dialysis patients are afflicted with kidney failure due to unpreventable factors like birth defects and hereditary diseases, World Kidney Day provides an opportunity to spread the word that kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure, is in some cases, preventable.

Some of the most common and often preventable risk factors for chronic kidney disease in children include hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes. To help your child cultivate good kidney health, follow these five healthful tips:

- Practice healthy lifestyle choices for and with your child. A balanced diet with regular exercise and limited time spent in sedentary activities will help maintain an ideal body weight.

- Get your child's blood pressure measurements taken at their regular medical check-ups. These should start at the age of three.

- Make sure to get your child's urine checked frequently if kidney disease risk factors are present. Some of these factors include high blood pressure, obesity, or a family history of kidney disease.

- Avoid giving your child drugs and medications that may harm kidneys. This includes avoiding excessive use of certain pain relievers.

- Obtain regular prenatal care. This includes getting a prenatal ultrasound to detect abnormalities of your baby's kidneys and urinary tract, and to detect low birth weight. Children's was recently ranked as one of the best children's hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and specifically ranked #2 in the country for kidney disease care.

Seattle Children's Hospital

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