The new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is designed as a healing environment to minimize stress, encourage hope, and provide comfort. Every detail has been planned to meet the unique needs of our pediatric patients and families. From the moment visitors step into the lobby, they will see spaces that engage, entertain, and invite discovery.

Here are some of the ways families will benefit from our new hospital:

Enhanced Privacy: Every patient will have a private room. This maximizes privacy, promotes rest, and makes it easier for families to relax together. All post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and preoperative/postoperative recovery rooms will be private, too.

Spacious Rooms: Rooms in the new hospital will be bigger than current rooms. The average size of rooms in our new hospital is 360 square feet, double the size of the smallest rooms on 2 John Colloton Pavilion (JCP). Rooms on 2 JCP range from 178 square feet to 296 square feet, while rooms in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in our current hospital range from 217 square feet to 301 square feet. Rooms in our new hospital will be uniform in size, shape, and layout. Standardizing rooms provides a smooth transition for families that must stay frequently.

Family Focus: Every patient room includes a family zone with a foldout sofa large enough for two adults to comfortably spend the night with their loved ones. Separate lights and a TV allow family members to relax and work while their child rests. Each room will include a family refrigerator. For added peace of mind, families will also have their own locking storage cabinets.

Reduced Risk of Infection: Private rooms are highly effective in reducing exposure to germs. In addition, our hospital is equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system. HEPA systems help prevent the spread of infection. Flooring, furniture, and cabinets have been chosen for ease of cleaning.

State-of-the-Art Technology: A new nurse call system has been designed to improve response time. This technology will improve efficiency, lower patient anxiety, and increase satisfaction. Our new Oneview system will serve as an information and entertainment system for patients and families. Patients and families will be able to control lights and shades in their rooms, and every patient room will have its own thermostat.

Quiet Environment: Rooms are same-handed in design, meaning that the room layout is identical in each room on a given level. As a result, beds will never share a common wall, which will cut down on noise transfer between rooms. Sound-absorptive floors and soundproofing between rooms will provide a quieter experience. Offstage (staff) areas will allow employees to meet away from patient rooms, leading to quieter hallways. Service elevators and offstage hallways will allow employees to make deliveries and travel between floors without using the main hallways. Lower noise levels will make it easier to rest, promoting healing.

Increased Natural Light: Every patient room will have a large window. Natural light helps promote healing. It also helps create a more home-like environment. Many public areas will have large windows, too. These include the two-story lobby and spaces on Level 12. Light wells extending from the bottom to the top of the building let daylight into hallways and conference rooms.

Easy-to-Navigate Design: A standardized floor plan will help families, visitors, and employees find their way. Hallways are in the same place on every level. On inpatient floors, vending machines, lounges, and restrooms are in the same location. A unique icon and color represents each level, making it easier to navigate the building.

Family-Friendly Amenities: For convenience, a laundry room will be located on every inpatient floor. Private meeting rooms near patient rooms are designed as places where parents can talk privately. Playrooms designed for children of different ages will provide a space for patients and siblings. An exercise room for parents of babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will be located on Level 6.

Dedicated Focus on Pediatric Patients: Every aspect of patient care has been designed to meet the needs of pediatric patients, including a care team with specialized training in caring for children. For example, pediatric patients will no longer share waiting areas with adult patients. New, faster equipment and distractions will reduce the need for anesthesia during imaging.

Increased Capacity: With our hospital and care team growing, our ability to care for more pediatric patients and families will also increase. An expanded cardiac catheterization lab means more procedures can be scheduled during the day.

New and Expanded Services/Treatment Options: The UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Center will offer a lead-lined patient room and exam room. These rooms will be used for patients whose treatment requires high doses of radiation. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital will be one of fewer than a dozen children’s hospitals in the country with this capability. Some chemotherapy treatment previously done on an inpatient basis will be offered on an outpatient basis. This “day hospital” concept is designed for pediatric patients who tolerate chemotherapy. The hospital will include an area for performing dental procedures for patients with complex medical conditions. Sedated hearing tests will be offered in a space specifically designed for pediatric patients.

Additional Benefits

Pediatric patients won’t be the only ones who will benefit from our new hospital.

Adult Patients: The opening of our new children’s hospital will free up space inside UI Hospitals & Clinics, making it possible to expand capacity and create additional private rooms for adult patients. Private rooms make it easier to rest and reduce the risk of infection, promoting healing.

Capacity in operating rooms and other areas will increase for adult patients, too. It’s estimated that 20 percent of cases annually will be moved out of operating rooms and the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) when our new children’s hospital opens. Increased capacity will lower wait times for both adult and pediatric patients.

Hospital Employees: Our new hospital has been designed to enhance patient- and family-centered care. At the same time, many design elements will help employees, too. Same-handed rooms will allow employees to work more efficiently. Standardized floor plans will make it easier for employees to fill in for one another throughout the hospital. Offstage (staff) areas will enhance workflow and collaboration. Service elevators will streamline deliveries.

All inpatient floors will have rooms set aside for staff training. Lifts for bariatric patients aim to reduce strain and injury among care team members. Natural light from windows and light wells will provide a more pleasant work environment. Ergonomic furniture will improve comfort. New technology should reduce alarm fatigue. Dedicated research space, more space for conducting clinical trials, and the introduction of new treatment options allow staff to expand their knowledge base while offering families more hope.

All Families: As the only comprehensive children’s hospital in Iowa, our new children’s hospital will provide an environment that matches the quality of care being delivered today at the state’s only nationally ranked children’s hospital. Our new building also will enhance employee recruitment by allowing us to offer an environment that rivals other highly ranked children’s hospitals nationwide. Our pediatric residency program has expanded, too. This growth should help the state retain more medical school graduates or attract those from outside Iowa.