Hospital Spotlight Q&A with Trisha Montague, chief administrator for Arkansas Children's Northwest

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | October 05, 2018
From the October 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

There are about 200 children hospitals in the country, so legislation, recognition, research, funding, all of those things – children’s hospitals are not always at the top-of-mind. Children don’t vote, so when you’re working with the politicians you have a different level of conversation as far as advocacy goes. It makes it uniquely challenging to have a level playing field.

The other thing about children’s hospitals is that our expertise is from the smallest of neonates up to someone like a 20-year-old linebacker for the Razorbacks. So you have to have the knowledge and ability to deal with that spectrum of people and to also have the equipment and supplies. You don’t have one set of adult oxygen masks, you have five sets of different sizes. That just repeats throughout all your medical supplies and equipment. That’s one of the reasons children’s hospitals are more challenging from a financial standpoint, because you need to have everything available for any size patient that may come through the door.

Another thing is that your patient isn’t just the child, but the family as well. It’s about taking care of the family as a whole.

HCB News: What kind of accommodations or children-specific attributes does your hospital have?
TM: That experience really starts as soon as they walk through the door. That was a very intentional part of our design process throughout the hospital. We wanted there to be an experience from the moment they walked through the door where they say, “It’s a warm, inviting, interesting place that engages me and doesn’t frighten me at all.” I think it’s really important for kids and parents to be able to enter and have that experience right from the beginning. We did that here with a design concept we call “discovery and delight” that has different little things like a little bird or squirrel that children can find throughout the hospital. Another example would be our MRI scanner. We installed this newer kind of pediatric scanner in a room that’s set up with a whole lighting system and video system. Before the child goes into the MRI, they sit with the tech to pick out the colors and videos. It’s a cool digital process for choosing things. That was something we invested in and it turned out to be super popular for all ages. We also have a child-life specialist program which is a standard of care. It’s really an important part of effectively taking care of families.

HCB News: Do you believe the appropriate levels of investment are being made in children’s healthcare today?

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