Joe DiMaggio Childrens Hospital Unveils $166 Million Expansion of its Hospital

October 18, 2022

exterior Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital expansion

After 30 years providing highly specialized pediatric care in South Florida, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has now reached another milestone – the expansion of its Hollywood location from four to eight floors. The hospital’s growth allows Memorial Healthcare System to meet the continuous demand for specialized services with new surgical capabilities, treatments and patient/family programs added to its mix of already established offerings.

“Everything we do and every decision we make focuses on what is best for children and families in our community. We listen to our patients, their families, pediatricians and the community in general, and incorporate this feedback into our growth plans,” said Caitlin Stella, CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “Our delivery of care and development of new programs and services are aligned with our commitment to creating and maintaining the highest standards of care for children; the care that they deserve.”

Since its inception in 1992, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has experienced tremendous growth and has evolved into a specialized tertiary care facility for children. From 2,000 admissions that first year, the children’s hospital now manages more than 375,000 patient encounters annually. Its service area has stretched considerably, with patients seeking care from across the United States and the Caribbean. The hospital’s Pediatric Transport Team now transports almost 2,000 children in need of specialty care annually from other hospitals.

To continue to meet the healthcare needs of children and families, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is expanding from 180,000 square-feet to nearly 400,000 square-feet. In keeping with the hospital’s theme, Power of Play, the new floors – five through eight – are themed as: Imagine, Rhythm, Adventure and Grow, respectively.

Innovation in Care Through Advanced Technology

“Innovation through technology, strategic partnerships and growth of our building and medical teams is imperative to meet our goal of providing high quality patient care in the safest environment possible,” said Ronald Ford, MD, chief medical officer of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “For 30 years, we have not wavered from our mission. With this expansion, we are ushering in state-of-the-art technologies and new spaces designed with both the child and family in mind.”

For the first time in its history, the hospital will offer a neurosurgical operating suite with intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI), a cutting-edge technology that offers real time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in a surgical environment. This IMRI technology is primarily used in neurosurgical procedures including tumor removals or placing implants during epilepsy surgeries with pinpoint precision. The MRI is a 3 Tesla strength magnet that is specialized for brain imaging. When clinically needed, the 20,000-pound MRI moves from the scan room into the neurosurgical operating suite along a ceiling-mounted transport system.

The hospital is also introducing a comprehensive cardiac care floor to optimize safety and quality, improve clinical outcomes and enhance the patient and family experience. The new 6th floor is designed to bring together complex procedures and specialized services in one location to minimize moving cardiac patients. The Helene and Stephen Weicholz Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) will house 20 cardiac ICU beds, a preoperative and recovery care area, and four state-of-the-art cardiac procedural suites with The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation Cardiac Hybrid Operating Room, a hybrid operating room to perform cardiac catheterizations, electrophysiology (EP), interventional radiology (IR) and cardiothoracic open-heart surgeries.

On the 5th floor, the new Inpatient Rehabilitation Gym will feature several therapeutic rooms, a sensory room, a Virtual Reality treadmill, a Bioness Vector Gait & Safety System to provide additional support and safety when moving around the room, and access to the outdoor Hope Terrace, where patients can expand their inpatient rehabilitation journey to the outdoors. The inpatient rehabilitation nursing unit will consist of six large private rooms that will provide families with plenty of space during their admission. The expansion will allow the medical team to treat patients with more complex diagnoses who will benefit from an inpatient rehabilitation stay.

The expansion also gives way to:

  • Joe DiMaggio CHildren’s Hospital Medical Staff Simulation Lab.
  • Patient classroom for ongoing education provided by Broward County Public Schools.
  • State-of-the-art private patient rooms designed with feedback from families about how they would best utilize the space.
  • General pediatric ICU.
  • Additional surgical and interventional radiology suites.
  • Dedicated pediatric pharmacy with patient safety innovations, including using DoseEdge to automate preparation, tracking and reporting of IV solutions and oral medications.
  • Center for Complex Care, an alliance with Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • Playrooms and family lounges on each of the new floors including the Family Lounge on the 7th floor, a generous gift from UKG.

Catch the Love – Generous Philanthropy Makes the Dream

The expansion project is a $166 million investment, with nearly a third of that amount being generated through community philanthropy. “Catch the Love,” a capital campaign undertaken by the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation that set a fundraising goal of $56 million, has been well received by many that understand the importance of having an advanced children’s hospital close to home. Chaired by incoming foundation chair Brett Rose, the campaign has been aided by an ongoing effort from NHL star Aleksander “Sasha” Barkov. The Florida Panthers captain has, for the past three hockey seasons, donated $1,600 for each goal he scores and $800 for everyone he assists on, leading to nearly $215,000 in contributions to date.

Another celebrity that has left his mark on the expanded facility is Garth Brooks. The eighth floor is home to the nation’s 14th Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Child Life Zone. The area, made possible, in part, by a generous donation from the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, features a daily itinerary of activities and exhibits for kids of all ages, expressive and therapeutic play areas, production space for in-house Joe D. TV, and open places to host yoga, music, art, and special events. It houses the Health and Wellness Teaching Kitchen and the City Furniture Family Lounge, where families can relax with their children in a safe environment that enables them to leave behind, at least temporarily, their hospital rooms. They can also enjoy that opportunity at the Lollipop Theater, sponsored by BBX Capital Foundation.

“There are few places nationwide where families can go to receive the highly specialized pediatric care that is closer to home than Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Regardless of a child’s age, medical complexity, or ability to pay – a team of experts is ready to help,” said Kevin Janser, CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The hospital welcomes its growth to meet South Florida’s increasing pediatric healthcare needs.”

To get behind-the-scenes exclusive looks at the new space, follow Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital unveils $166 million expansion and move-in day