A vitally important expansion is required for the optimal treatment of sick children.
Background and Need
Soroka Medical Center is solely responsible for the care of the more than 400,000 children in the Negev, the entire southern half of Israel. The Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Department at Soroka Medical Center does its utmost to fulfill this important role. The Department provides treatment to children who are oncology, hematology, and bone marrow transplant patients. In addition to treatment rooms, the department includes an on-site and distance-learning classroom and an activity club room for our young patients and their families.
The Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Department provides treatment for children and young adults with cancer in an outpatient setting, allowing most of our patients to leave the hospital with their families at the end of the day. One of the goals of the department is to help cancer patients fit their medical care into their lives, instead of fitting their lives into their medical care.
While our dedicated and highly-trained staff provides care with the highest professional medical standards, the facility of our Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Department is grossly inadequate to provide the appropriate infrastructure for this care.
The current facility in which pediatric oncology ambulatory care is provided is insufficient for today’s needs, and most certainly for tomorrow’s. The facility includes only two treatment rooms with a total of three beds and three oncology armchairs and no medical examination rooms, making it impossible to provide optimal treatment for sick children. In this reality, the unfortunate situation often arises in which one child has to vacate his or her bed so that another child can be treated. Frequently, what should be private conversations between doctors and patients or among doctors, patients, and their families are forced to take place in the public setting of a treatment room.
Our goal, which can be realized with your support and partnership, is to create a facility for Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care that will meet both current and future needs. In its current state, the Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Department cannot offer the best possible care, care which we are fully capable of providing in an appropriate facility to children suffering from hematological and oncological diseases.
The planning and design of the new facility of the Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Department will result in a significantly larger department, consisting of 960 square meters (10,330 square feet), more than doubling the size of the current facility.
The challenges to providing optimum care in the current Pediatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Department include the following:
- The number of rooms and hospitalization stations are insufficient for the number of patients treated.
- A long, narrow corridor makes it extremely difficult for children with IV poles, wheelchairs, or walkers, all of which are widely used by patients, to move around.
- There is currently no place in the facility where doctors can speak privately with a patient and his or her family. Every conversation, even the most personal, is currently conducted publicly in the treatment rooms.
- The department has no rooms for the many consultants, among them palliative care physicians and nurses, psychologists, social workers, and others, who come to work with patients.
- While they wait and during treatment, most of the patients who can do so go to the on-site and distance-learning classroom and activity club room for our young patients. The current space cannot accommodate the number of patients who arrive with their families.
- A calculation of the increase in the number of pediatric patient visits between 2015 and 2018 shows an annual rise of 15%. The projection for 2025, even taking into account a more conservative estimate of annual growth, projects more than 8,600 visits per year. In 2018, the average number of visits per day was 17, while the projected number of patients per day for 2025 will be more than double at 35.