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SMH opens kid-friendly waiting area at Sarasota emergency center

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has opened a new pediatric waiting room designed to help relieve the stress of young patients at its Sarasota campus emergency room.

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In a continuing effort to make trips to the hospital less frightening for children, Sarasota Memorial Hospital has opened a new pediatric waiting area inside the Emergency Care Center at its Sarasota campus this week.


Britt Riner
Britt Riner

The new kid-friendly space is part of a $3.9 million ECC renovation, which includes improved check-in, registration and waiting areas; and a new emergency radiology area with an additional CT scanner to expand capacity.

 The improvements are intended to help streamline diagnosis and treatment of patients while enhancing the experience of children, said Sarasota County Public Hospital board member Britt Riner.

 “Going to the hospital for an emergency can be a stressful experience for a child and a parent,” Riner said. “As the mother of four young kids, I’m confident this dedicated, beautiful space for kids in the ER … will reduce anxiety and be good for children and parents.”

The pediatric waiting room is separated from the rest of the ECC by a glass partition and features child-friendly décor, toys and a gaming monitor. It augments resources SMH-Sarasota offers to address the specific needs of children and families. The hospital has employed Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital’s pediatric hospitalists since 1996 to provide care for children, as well as specialty consults for children treated in the ER.

 “Now our tiniest patients will have more comfort and quality care from the moment they walk through the doors of the hospital,” said Dr. Katherine Keeley, a pediatrician with Sarasota Memorial’s First Physicians Group.


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