KALISPELL – The new children’s center at Kalispell Regional Medical Center makes it easier for Flathead families to receive treatment close to home.
Montana Children’s Administrator Teresa Fisher told MTN that, currently, Kalispell Regional Medical center only has five neonatal intensive care units. The new children’s unit will have 12.
Fishers said this gives Flathead families more options closer to home.
“Kids don’t have to leave the state. They don’t have to go to Seattle and other locations to get their care. We want them to be able to stay here close to family and friends,” Fisher explained.
The new center brings the comforts of home for families while they’re in treatment. Fisher says the new center has family rooms with beds, kitchenettes and showers to make a family’s stay easier.
“There [are] areas for families to sleep, there are refrigerators, there are places for them to relax, rocking chairs things like that, so they can really stay with their loved one and have the space to do that,” said Fisher.
Montana Children’s Center Co-medical Director Courtney Stout Paterson said the Montana Children’s Center has a special program called “Child Life” which is designed to teach children how to cope with scary treatments and diagnoses.
“A developmental specialist who can help kids learn in an appropriate way all of the stuff that has to happen in the hospital. So, if we have to do something scary, potentially something painful, the child life specialist can work through that with the child and their family to the situation, to coach them through it,” said Stout Paterson.
The new playful facility has special nods to Montana. A tile river runs through the lobby, colorful stools in the lobby are made to look like river rocks and glassfish created by a local artist hang from the ceiling.
The public is welcome to tour the facility on June 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Montana Children’s Center is scheduled to open on July 1.
-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News