MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Children’s Hospital will officially open three new protective environment rooms specially designed for pediatric cancer patients on Thursday, March 1.

In protective environment rooms, air pressure inside is greater than it is outside the room. Air flows out instead of in so that any germs in the air will be kept away from the patient. Such an environment is especially important for patients with cancer because their immune systems are compromised.

“Our goal at WVU Children’s Hospital is to provide each of our patients with the highest quality of care possible. We want to be sure we’re doing everything we can to help our patients in their fight against cancer,” Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said. “These rooms will help us do just that.”

The rooms are private, single-bed rooms with a sleeper sofa for family members. There is a curtain in each room that can be used to separate the patient’s space and the family space so that each side can have privacy. Because the patients who will use the rooms are generally those who spend a significant amount of time in the hospital, the rooms have their own bathrooms with showers and provide families with ample storage space for clothes and other belongings. Each room is also equipped with a television and video game station, which was made possible through a donation from the Fringe Little League Association.

“Hospital stays are difficult for both the patients and their families. The majority of the patients who will use these rooms are those who are with us for weeks and months at a time, and they were designed with that in mind,” Jones said. “We hope that these new rooms will make those who are with us for an extended time a little more comfortable.”

Charles and Kelly Helmick of Weston, whose 3-year-old daughter Claire passed away in August 2010 after a six-month battle with leukemia, provided input on the design of the rooms so they would best meet the needs of both the patients and their families.

One two-bed patient room was eliminated to construct the three single-bed rooms. With this addition, the general pediatrics unit at WVU Children’s Hospital now has 29 beds.

Attention reporters and editors: Members of the media will be able to tour the new protective environment rooms beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 1. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held immediately following at 11 a.m. If you would like to tour the rooms, please call Angela Jones, HSC News Service, at 304-293-7087 in advance.

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 02-23-12