Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) announced Thursday the grand opening and dedication of the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation Rehabilitation Center honoring the couple’s two late sons, Bobby and Richie Petersen, who died in a 1975 plane crash. Late last month, patients and staff moved in to the new 22,000-square-foot, safari-themed facility.
“Our rehabilitation unit serves approximately 200 patients each year. This tremendous state-of-the-art facility will not only allow us to serve more patients, but we can now care for our patients with the healing environment they deserve and provide our staff with the therapeutic amenities to match the excellent level of the care they provide,” CHLA president and CEO Richard D. Cordova said.
The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation donated $5 million to support the hospital’s mission of delivering innovative patient care. To advance the hospital’s efforts to secure community funds to complete construction of the new rehabilitation center, the foundation also pledged a dollar-for-dollar match — up to $3.5 million — on all donations made to support the center’s completion through Dec. 31, 2016.
“The opening of the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation Rehabilitation Center is the realization of Margie and Robert’s desire to help children overcome devastating illnesses and accidents so they can get back to their families and do the things they love to do,” said GiGi Carleton, president of the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation.
Significant donations were also received from The Associates, Fundación TeletónUSA, The Weingart Foundation, Walt Disney Company, Mr. and Mrs. William Shatner and the Hollywood Charity Horse Show, The Elias, Genevieve and Georgianna Atol Charitable Trust, Vika Azarenka and Vika for the Cause, Rhett D. Beavers, Looking Beyond, Erling Richard West, Jr. and Philip A. Turner.
The division of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at CHLA is a major referral center for challenging cases that cannot be treated at other Southern California hospitals, officials said. The division provides coordinated care through its work with specialists in medicine, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, hearing and speech therapy, social work, child life and other professional specialties. The team treats children with diverse diagnoses, including stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries, brain tumors, bone tumors, seizures, spinal disorders and rheumatologic disorders.
“The sooner a child begins the coordinated, specialized rehabilitative care offered at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the better his or her chances are for recovery and a return to a happy and healthy life. The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation Rehabilitation Center will give a patient access to the latest in rehabilitative equipment and care, as well as a family-friendly space that allows the child’s mind and soul to thrive,” said Kevan Craig, chief of the division of rehabilitative medicine.
The center is one of the largest acute pediatric rehabilitation centers in the country, CHLA officials said. It has 22 patient beds, six private rooms, three semiprivate rooms and two medical isolation rooms for patients with fragile immune systems. Patients admitted to CHLA’s rehabilitation unit stay anywhere from one to five months while they receive intensive therapy. Families often drive long distances to be with their child during care, officials added, so the new facility will honor a family’s needs for privacy while helping them maximize their interaction as a family during patients’ recoveries. Every patient room will include family sleep areas, a bathroom and shower, free wireless internet and the GetWellNetwork, an interactive patient care system developed for pediatric patients and their families that lets them learn and play while in the hospital.
In addition, the new 22,000 square-foot facility features the Fundación TeletónUSA Rehabilitation gym, with 1,750 square feet of physical and occupational therapy space, and an occupational therapy craft room, a speech therapy room, a recreation therapy room and a child life playroom. It also includes a ceiling-mounted transportation system to help safely move patients and a kitchen for therapeutic training purposes with patients and a large common dining area that will encourage communal dining.
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