VALHALLA, N.Y. – A new state-of-the-art wing in the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla will resolve a capacity issue in the hospital and allow for the treatment of up to 500 more children per year.
“For the past few years we’ve been over capacity here at the hospital with all of the patients that we take in from all over the region,” said the hospital’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Michael Gerwitz, who added that construction on the unit began 15 months ago. “This new facility will help us in being able to accommodate more children.”
The inpatient unit, titled the Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Family Foundation Athletics Neighborhood, is a $6.5 million renovation made to the hospital in the former area of the Ronald McDonald House that was unveiled Monday. The unit features nine single-patient rooms with private bathrooms, televisions, showers and sleeping arrangements for the patient’s families. The rooms are spread along the outskirts of the wing, with a central area for nurses and physicians. Murals of children running and being active are displayed along the walls to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Gerwitz said the hospital created an uplifting atmosphere in the unit, or neighborhood, in order to make the patients and their families as comfortable as possible during their stay at the hospital.
“We want the patient to feel as welcome as possible when they’re here because we want a place where kids can come and not be afraid of the facility or the treatment they’re receiving,” Gerwitz said.
Shannon Page, of Lagrange, N.Y., was staying in the new section of the hospital with her 16-year-old daughter Brooke, who was recovering from spinal surgery, as well as her son Hayden. Page said she developed a fear of hospitals after a previous traumatic experience, but that was all erased after staying in the athletics neighborhood.
“Ever since my father passed away unexpectedly a few years ago I’ve been freaked out by hospitals so I was a little terrified when my daughter had to come here, but every aspect of the care and treatment here has been phenomenal,” Page said.
Page said that a conversation she had with one of her daughter’s nurses helped ease her mind that her child was in good hands.
“One of Brooke’s nurses is from Jamaica and I was talking to her about what the hospitals are like there,” Page said. “And hearing her talk about those hospitals and experiencing the treatment here you really realize how blessed and lucky we are.”