Two sensory rooms have been added to the Northwest Community Hospital's Emergency Department to improve patient experience for individuals who are developmentally disabled.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony held this week celebrated the donors who helped transform two examination rooms into a tranquil environment with specific equipment to calm patients while waiting to see a physician.
"We are here for this community; that's our vision and that's our mission," Steve Scogna, Northwest Community Healthcare president and CEO, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"We want people to come into the best surroundings and to get the kind of care that they deserve. This is a wonderful opportunity for us."
As many as one in six children (about 15 percent) ages 3-7 have one or more developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning or sensory (e.g. vision, hearing) impairment.
The sights, sounds, and pace of an Emergency Department are often overwhelming for patients with genetic conditions (e.g. Down syndrome), brain trauma, behavior issues, neurological conditions (including Alzheimer's and dementia).
The two rooms feature wall murals, iPads, comfortable chairs, weighted blankets, crash mats, exercise balls and fidget balls. In addition, an advanced practice nurse with experience working with developmentally disabled individuals will be on call to manage the patients and advise staff on their unique patient care needs.
Three donors made the rooms possible: Chris and Susan Dungan of Arlington Heights; The Rotary Club of Arlington Heights; and Marcy Burhop of Arlington Heights.
"We deeply appreciate our donors and everything they've done for us," Scogna said.
Speaking to the donors, Kimberly Nagy, NCH executive vice president, Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer, added, "You all made it very possible for us to take the step into that new direction to be able to better fulfill the needs of a very special patient population."
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