Kids are kings of the castle at South Dakota hospital

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Being admitted to a hospital can be a scary experience for any kid. But a newly opened hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, is hoping to make visits more Disney than dreadful, thanks to an imaginative design that combines state-of-the-art technology, child-sized facility design, and a castlelike building with a fairy-tale theme.

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Sanford Children's Hospital's Castle of Care. All photos courtesy of Sanford Children's Hospital.
Sanford Children's Hospital's Castle of Care is a 146-bed facility that opened on March 11. Built with a $16 million donation from a South Dakota philanthropist, the facility is created around the story "The Legend of Sanford Castle," which describes five different lands and a variety of animals "living" in the children's hospital. Each land represents a different level of the hospital, depicted with thematic artwork by local artists, pediatric patients, and children in the community.

The radiology department resides in the "deep blue waters" of the hospital's lowest level. Its walls and diagnostic modalities are painted with fanciful otters, frogs, fish, and river scenes. Like all clinical departments of the hospital, it includes playrooms, child- and family-friendly consultation rooms, and electronic games and treasure boxes inset in waiting room walls.

Imaging suites and diagnostic equipment continue the theme. The ultrasound suite has a mural with art that illuminates at different lighting levels. Different critters and details stand out as lights are lowered, making the experience special and fun, radiology manager Gale Wynia told The chest radiography system has a seaweed motif on each side, and strategically placed artwork helps position patients, such as a figure on the wall that children are told to look at when being positioned in a lateral view.

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Artwork and murals can be found throughout the facility, as shown above and below.
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The artists involved in decorating Sanford's imaging suites followed a pediatric radiologic technologist for a day at Sanford Health's adult hospital to see how young patients interacted with technologists and reacted to equipment.

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Artfully decorated CT scanner from the Castle of Care.

The facility's CT scanner (LightSpeed VCT, GE Healthcare, Chalfont St. Giles, U.K.) is more than whimsical. A 64-slice CT was purchased to replace a 16-slice scanner so that children would be exposed to less radiation dose, Wynia explained. Dr. Susan Duffek, the hospital's pediatric imaging specialist, established protocols for the new scanner utilizing the Image Gently campaign's guidelines to reduce radiation dose by 30% for most routine procedures.

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Freddy the Firetruck mobile x-ray.
Sanford's radiology department plans to lower dose even more next month, when it becomes the first children's hospital in the U.S. to install a LightSpeed VCT XTe console with GE's adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) algorithm. ASIR reconstruction techniques can lower radiation dose by up to 40% by reducing image noise and improving low contrast detectability and image quality, in conjunction with Duffek's 30% radiation reducing child-sized protocols.

As with all children admitted to the hospital, radiology department patients receive their own copy of the "The Legend of Sanford Castle" book, and the radiation dose they've received as part of their care is recorded in Sanford Health's electronic medical record system. Their parents receive an Image Gently-developed radiology exam record card for future care providers in case they move out of the Sanford Health system.

Sanford Children's Hospital received the $16 million gift for the construction of Castle of Care from T. Denny Sanford, a South Dakota businessman and philanthropist who also donated $400 million to Sanford Health, formerly known as Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System.

By Cynthia E. Keen staff writer
April 22, 2009

Related Reading

NFQ endorses Image Gently campaign, March 30, 2009

Image Gently campaign targets parents for 2009 initiative, February 3, 2009

Study: Radiologists dial back on pediatric CT settings, September 4, 2008

Copyright © 2009

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