The pediatric rehabilitation program had just 12 kids when it opened 10 years ago at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. Today, more than 550 children receive physical, occupational and speech therapy services at the Legacy Children’s Center each week.
And up until a week ago, the rehab program was using the same office space to serve those 550 kids as it was when it had just a dozen patients.
But early last week, the medical center celebrated the completion of a 3,425-square-foot expansion of its Children’s Center, funded by $440,000 in community donations. The added space allows the rehab program to add services and cut down its 200-child waiting list.
In addition, the Children’s Center took over a vacated 1,120-square-foot suite on the same floor to bring pediatric specialists under the same roof. Previously, the providers were crammed into the same office space as the rehab program, and some of those speciality services were only available at the health system’s Portland centers.
“The goal is access to services close to home,” said Lisa Lyons, manager of the pediatric rehab program.
The pediatric rehab clinic was previously housed in a 6,400-square-foot office in the hospital’s medical office building. The program was bursting at the seams.
Staff were cramped and equipment filled all extra space. Some therapy exercises, such as riding bikes, took place in the hallways. And the lack of space limited the number of kids who could be seen each week.
“It’s hard to hear a parent want to get their kid in and not have a spot for them,” Lyons said.
The Children’s Center will be adding staff throughout the summer to increase capacity. For now, the rehab program still has about 130 kids waiting for speech therapy and about 100 kids on the waiting list for occupational therapy, Lyons said.
With the expansion, however, the program hopes to treat about 150 more kids per week.
Seven-year-old Holdyn Hanset is among the hundreds of current patients of the rehab program. He tested out the program’s new adaptive bike on a track incorporated into the floor design in the expanded center’s gym on Wednesday.
The program didn’t bring in adaptive bikes before because there was no space for the larger bikes. Now, not only is there room to ride, but children can practice braking, starting and controlling their speeds on a track.
“This opened up new opportunities,” Lyons said. “The ability to do track work was never possible before.”
For Holdyn’s parents, that means their son has an opportunity to practice skills he can use later in life and learn a sense of direction, said James Hanset, Holdyn’s dad.
“It’s a pretty nice setup,” Hanset said.
The new space also includes four more treatment rooms, a parent viewing/observation room, a sensory gym and an Activities of Daily Living room. The expansion also includes other features, such as dimmable lights that can be useful for kids who need calming spaces and a mock bathtub that can be used to practice transferring children to and from the tub from a wheelchair.
The Children’s Center also houses the hospital’s Child Abuse Assessment Team, which was added to the cramped quarters in 2009. That program will remain in the original suite, just down the hall from the expanded rehab space.
Another suite on the floor, which was vacated by The Vancouver Clinic, has been turned into offices for pediatric specialists. Located there are providers for pediatric endocrinology, children’s diabetes and pediatric pulmonology. The extra space enabled the center to broaden the diabetes services and add pediatric gastroenterology and children’s mental health services. Soon, they’ll also add a pediatric sedation room for outpatient procedures.
Efforts to expand the Children’s Center got started about a year and a half ago. That’s when Kate and Marty Rifkin, after whom the new space is named, and their KMR Group Foundation pledged $250,000 to expand the center. They challenged the Salmon Creek Hospital Foundation to raised an additional $100,000 and gave the group five years to do it.
The foundation only needed six months. In that time, $190,000 in donations rolled in, said Shirley Gross, with the Salmon Creek Hospital Foundation.
“It really, truly took the village to put it together,” Gross said. “And it happened quickly.”