Level 11 is dedicated entirely to the University of Iowa Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Center. The center includes our pioneering Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) program, the only pediatric BMT program in the state of Iowa. The name of our cancer center recognizes the generous support of UI Dance Marathon, whose $5 million pledge was the lead gift for the children’s hospital building campaign.

The UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Center was designed for the comfort and convenience of patients and families. Currently, outpatient appointments and oncology infusion procedures take place in the Pediatric Specialty Clinic (PSC), while inpatient admissions take place in other areas of UI Hospitals & Clinics. Input from the care team and families led to combining inpatient and outpatient care in a single area. As a result, both inpatients and outpatients will be cared for on Level 11 in the new hospital.

The all-inclusive UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Center is designed to help reduce stress during what can be an anxious time. Newly diagnosed patients can tour the outpatient clinic before being discharged from a hospital stay. Familiarity with the center and the care team will help lessen anxiety. Members of the care team will appreciate having all pediatric cancer care in one location, too, since they will be able to greet patients who come back for check-ups. All pediatric cancer care team members specialize in treatment of pediatric cancer. Their extensive training and expertise enhance patients’ comfort and well-being. Team members will include two child life specialists dedicated exclusively to meeting the needs of pediatric cancer patients.

All 18 private inpatient rooms have bathrooms and large windows for natural light. Private rooms enhance privacy and rest, promote healing, and help prevent infection. For safety, each inpatient room is equipped with its own high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. These highly effective air filters provide an extra line of defense against germs.

As with all patient rooms in our new hospital, each room is divided into three areas. The care team zone is the area designated for the medical team; it includes a sink and access to supplies. The patient zone features the patient’s bed, TV, and a colorful lighting system known as Drew’s Lamp. The family zone includes a sleeping area large enough for two adults to spend the night comfortably. A comfortable recliner lays flat for sleeping and also has a glider feature for soothing patients. Each family zone also includes a TV and lights that can be controlled separately from other lights in the room. All rooms include a locking storage cabinet and a refrigerator, both for the family’s private use.

The rooms are same-handed in design, meaning that the layout is identical to every patient room on the floor. As a result, beds never share a common wall, reducing noise transfer between rooms. With less noise, patients can rest more easily. Offstage (staff) areas in the center of Level 11 are designed to make rooms and hallways quieter, too.

Here are additional details about our UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Center:

Inpatient Area 

Hematology/oncology rooms: Twelve inpatient rooms are located along the south side of the building. Ten rooms have an airflow system that prevents germs from the hallway from entering the patient’s room. This airflow system creates what is called a positive pressure environment, reducing the risk of infection. Anyone entering or exiting the room must pass through a small buffer room, or anteroom.

Two other inpatient rooms serve as isolation rooms for patients with a contagious illness. These rooms provide a negative pressure environment. As a result, airflow is designed to keep germs from leaving the room and entering the hallway. These rooms also have small anterooms. Anterooms allow the proper air pressure to be maintained in both the patient’s room and nearby hallways.

One room has been designed for bariatric patients. It includes lifts in the ceiling, increased bed capacity, and reinforced bathroom fixtures. 

BMT rooms: The BMT rooms are located on the west end of Level 11. Our new hospital will have six BMT rooms, up from five. One room has been designed for bariatric patients. Most BMT unit rooms overlook Kinnick Stadium, which should offer plenty of distraction even when the Hawkeyes are not on the field. To reduce the risk for potential infection, the unit is separated from the rest of the level by doors at each end. A dedicated care team station sits in the unit’s wide hallway. Patients, whose immune systems are weakened, can meet or play in their own activity room to reduce exposure to others. The unit also features a consultation room. All six patient rooms include a water hookup for dialysis, if needed.

Five of the BMT unit rooms offer a positive pressure environment. This means that air flow is designed to keep germs from the hallway from entering the patient’s room. Anyone entering or exiting the room must pass through a small anteroom, or buffer room.

A sixth inpatient room, a lead-lined room, will be the first of its kind in Iowa. Fewer than a dozen children’s hospitals nationwide have such a space. Investment in this room stems from a commitment to offer the newest, most advanced treatments for our patients.

The lead-lined room is designed for patients undergoing metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) therapy for neuroblastoma. The lead lining protects others from high radiation that is used as part of the treatment process. Contact with patients undergoing this treatment is limited, which means that parents will not be able to stay overnight in the patient’s room. Our team understands the anxiety that this situation can cause for patients and families, and we have taken several steps to make sure parents can talk to, see, and comfort family members from outside the room. Parents will be able to stay in a room that shares a glass wall with the lead-lined room, allowing them to see and communicate with their child at all times.

Other amenities: Level 11 includes a classroom exclusively for patients in the pediatric cancer center. The dedicated classroom prevents exposure to children in other areas of the hospital. The hospital teacher works with the patient’s school to provide personalized instruction. Doing schoolwork helps provide a sense of normalcy and prevents students from falling behind if they stay in the hospital for long periods.

For the convenience of our families, the pediatric cancer center includes a family laundry room, an activity room, and vending machines. A large family lounge with Wi-Fi is a comfortable place for families to spend time. A parent respite room allows family members to relax and refresh, yet remain close to their child. The inpatient area also features a private consultation room, a nourishment room, and a room for staff training.

Outpatient Clinic 

The outpatient clinic has its own reception desk and lounge on the north side of Level 11. All of the nurses working in the clinic have received chemotherapy certification through the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses. This training ensures that they are experts in their field, dedicated to providing the best possible care.

Intake rooms: The clinic includes two patient intake rooms used for blood draws.

Exam rooms: The clinic features eight exam rooms, including a lead-lined room. Cancer patients who require cognitive testing will no longer need to visit the Center for Disabilities and Development. They can undergo those tests in the outpatient clinic.

Infusion rooms: All nine oncology infusion rooms are private rooms with slider doors. This is an improvement from rooms currently in the PSC, which have curtains. All rooms will have recliners and a side chair. Eight of the rooms will also be equipped with a stretcher. All rooms will have TVs with access to Oneview, our interactive education and entertainment system for patients and families. Using Oneview, infusion patients will be able to order meals through the hospital’s new galley kitchen. One infusion room is an isolation room with air flow designed to keep germs from leaving the room and entering the hallway.

The larger clinic allows our pediatric cancer team to provide new options for care. For example, some chemotherapy treatment previously done on an inpatient basis will be offered on an outpatient basis. This “day hospital” concept means that patients will come to the clinic in the morning to receive needed medication and hydration. If they tolerate the chemotherapy, they will be able to leave for the rest of the day and return to the clinic the following morning to receive additional medication or hydration. They will continue to return for as many days as their treatment protocol requires. This new option will further improve the quality of life for patients by allowing them to spend more time outside the hospital.

Getting there: Take the public elevators to Level 11; look for the purple kite icon. To reach the outpatient clinic, turn right when exiting the elevator. Check in with the receptionist. To reach inpatient rooms, call the unit clerk from a phone in the elevator area. Once admitted to the unit, visitors should wash their hands as directed.