July 24, 2018

It’s been two months since Texas Children’s Legacy Tower opened its doors for the first time to care for our most critically ill patients. Since May 22, 2018, our critical care, surgical and radiology teams have been extremely busy.

“We’ve seen over 300 ICU patients since we moved into Legacy Tower so the space is being well used,” said Shannon Holland, director of Nursing for critical care services. “We’re excited that our patients are getting the care they need in the place they need it with a lot of family amenities that they didn’t have in West Tower.”

Besides caring for patients in the pediatric intensive care and transitional care units, our surgical teams have been hard at work. Between May and June, the hospital’s surgical volumes have tripled. Approximately 330 surgeries have been performed since Legacy Tower opened, which equates to about 1,400 surgical hours.

“The first two days, we had a few rooms open, but since then, every room is full almost all day,” said Janet Winebar, assistant vice president of Perioperative Services. “We’ve seen a real change in the intraoperative MRI cases since the MRI is located completely adjacent to the operating room, resulting in more efficient delivery of care. Prior to this, we had to transport patients down to the MRI suite on a different floor and then back to the operating room.”

While being in the intensive care unit can be tough on patients and their families, many of them are giving the design of Legacy Tower a thumbs up. Patient families have expressed how comfortable they are in their new, much larger spaces, and how warm and inviting the new amenities and environment offer them.

“To have an ICU that has a comfortable bed and you never have to leave your kid’s side is really important,” said Clare Bensh. “For a baby who sadly has never been outside, it’s at least the next best thing to turn her around in the bed and she can have a lot of natural light. I think it’s a better environment for her to thrive in.”

Dr. Frank Gerow, an orthopedic surgeon and one of the leaders for the Legacy Tower project, credits our team’s steadfast dedication to the success of the phase one opening of Legacy Tower.

“The reason this whole process has come off as flawlessly as it has is because of the expertise and the experience that the directors, the executives and that the staff to this hospital bring,” Gerow said. “They’re the reason this has worked as well as it has.”

Meanwhile, excitement is building once again. In less than 60 days, the second phase of Legacy Tower will open.

On September 25, Texas Children’s Heart Center®, ranked No. 1 in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery, will move into Legacy Tower. The Heart Center will occupy eight floors and will feature four cardiac catheterization labs including integrated MRI scanner, four cardiovascular operating rooms, three cardiovascular ICU floors with 48 private rooms, two cardiac acute care floors with 42 private patient rooms, and a dedicated space for families.

“The Heart Center staff is very excited,” Winebar said. “They are collaborating together across disciplines from the CVOR to the CVICU and cardiology, to ensure we make this space work to benefit our patients and their families.”

May 29, 2018

On May 23, a day after the opening of phase one of Legacy Tower, another significant milestone was reached in Texas Children’s Hospital’s storied history. At 7:15 a.m., a 9-month-old boy was taken back to a new, state-of-the-art operating room for the first surgery in Legacy Tower, Texas Children’s new home for heart, intensive care and surgery.

Watch this video highlighting the clinical features of Legacy Tower, including the facility’s new operating and transitional ICU rooms.

Dr. Larry Hollier, surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Edward Buchanan, chief of plastic surgery, Dr. Howard Weiner, chief of neurosurgery, and Dr. Robert Dauser, neurosurgeon, along with a team of anesthesiologists, nurses, physician assistants and operating room staff, performed the successful craniofacial procedure. Following the surgery, the patient was taken to the hospital’s new neurological ICU, a first-of-its-kind unit dedicated to pediatric patients who require specialized neurological care.

“As the largest and busiest department of surgery in the country, we are called upon every day to perform some of the most complex surgeries on the sickest of children,” said Hollier. “Legacy Tower is an answer to those calls, and this is the first of many positive outcomes in our new home.”

Weiner agreed and said the new tower is a game changer that will allow various teams at Texas Children’s to offer better family-centric care.

“This is a huge day at Texas Children’s Hospital,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be here and to be part of something so transformational.”

Phase one of Legacy Tower, Texas Children’s 640,000-square-foot expansion, officially opened on May 22 with six technologically-advanced operating rooms for neurosurgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery, transplant and pediatric surgery – one with intraoperative MRI – and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neurological and transitional ICU rooms. This milestone will help Texas Children’s continue to provide the highest-quality care possible to patients and families, particularly those children who are critically-ill.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on May 22, seven specially-trained clinical teams safely transported 45 critically-ill patients to their new, spacious, state-of-the-art critical care rooms. More than 150 Texas Children’s staff members were involved in the move, and the careful transfer of the patients took seven hours.

Click here to view a video and photo gallery of the patient move to Legacy Tower.

Dauser said the Legacy Tower, specifically the operating rooms and their location to other specialties and services, are fantastic.

“Having the ability to conduct an intraoperative MRI in a room adjacent to one of the ORs has tremendous advantages,” he said. “Having an ICU dedicated to neuro patients also is a plus.”

Buchanan said such features provide the perfect environment for him and his colleagues to treat some of the sickest and most complex patients in the country.

“We all are very excited,” he said.

The second phase of Legacy Tower will open in September and house Texas Children’s Heart Center®, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for cardiology and heart surgery.

Ten-year-old Skye Jeary couldn’t believe her eyes as she was wheeled into her new, spacious room in Texas Children’s Legacy Tower. She was in awe when she saw the size of her room and commented on how she’ll have plenty of space to accommodate her stuffed unicorn and her mom who is in a wheelchair.

On May 22, Texas Children’s reached an historic milestone when the doors of Legacy Tower opened for the first time to care for our most critically ill patients. Beginning at 7 a.m., seven specially trained clinical teams began safely transporting 45 critically ill patients from the pediatric intensive care unit and progressive care unit in West Tower to their new, spacious, state-of-the-art critical care rooms in Legacy Tower.

More than 150 Texas Children’s staff members were involved in the patient move to Legacy Tower, and the careful transfer of the patients took seven hours, which was a lot sooner than originally anticipated due to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Legacy Tower teams involved on Move Day.

“The planning for the patient move was unbelievably detailed,” said Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, service chief of Critical Care Services at Texas Children’s. “The patient move involved nursing, administration, physicians, nurse practitioners, all members of the team as well as the amazing family support team that guided the families through what could have been a potentially overwhelming event for them.”

Patient and family services teams were assigned to each family member to help accompany and escort them from their current unit to the new unit in Legacy Tower and to get them settled in their new rooms.

“Our families were so excited about the move,” said Michelle Lawson, director of Texas Children’s Clinical Support Services. “They were being cheered on along the way and they were excited to be in their brand new space. They couldn’t believe we built it just for them.”

The Legacy Tower Go Live Support Center was set up on the fourth floor of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and comprised of 867 individuals from across the hospital system who focused on patient move tracking from West Tower to Legacy Tower. The team included support staff from Supply Chain, Security, BioMedical Engineering, Facilities Operations, Information Services, Pharmacy, Respiratory Care, as well as ancillary support teams from Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and our Health Centers.

“We had floor plans on the wall that were physically tracking the patients as they moved from West Tower to Legacy Tower,” said Matt Timmons, director of Business Operations and Support Services at West Campus. “We also documented it on a spreadsheet displayed on projectors so anybody in the Go Live Support Center knew exactly where our patients were throughout the entire move process.”

While patients were being moved safely to Legacy Tower, Mission Control ensured a smooth process for the patient move by collaborating with teams from the The Woodlands Campus and West Campus to manage the inflow of patients across the system while the move process was underway.

Seven hours after the patient move process began, staff cheered and clapped their hands as the last patient was moved to Legacy Tower.

“We call today the Super Bowl of patient moves,” said Texas Children’s Vice President of Nursing Gail Parazynski. “We observed the tireless leadership, unity, and undying compassion our team has exhibited all week during the first phase of the Legacy Tower Go-Live. The success of this go-live is a true testament to the leadership and dedicated teamwork at Texas Children’s Hospital.”

One day after this historic move, the first surgery was successfully performed in the new state-of-the-art operating room in Legacy Tower.

View the photo gallery of the patient move to Legacy Tower below. Click here to read the story of the first surgery in Legacy Tower and watch video of the state-of-the-art features of our new OR in Legacy Tower.

The second phase of Legacy Tower will open in September and house Texas Children’s Heart Center®, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for cardiology and heart surgery.

May 15, 2018

On May 10, Texas Children’s celebrated the soft opening of Texas Children’s Legacy Tower with a special ribbon cutting ceremony and blessing of the new 400-foot-tall building, part of which will officially open on Tuesday, May 22.

In the heart of the Texas Medical Center, more than 200 guests gathered outside Legacy Tower to attend this historic celebration. Guests included members of Texas Children’s Board of Trustees and Executive Council, Services in Chief, In-Chiefs, Chiefs of Service, donors, patient families, as well as Legacy Tower leadership team members and construction partners who together helped bring this massive project to fruition.

Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace delivered opening remarks and thanked everyone in attendance for their commitment to turning this vision into reality.

“The opening of Legacy Tower is another dream come true for Texas Children’s,” Wallace said. “There are so many people who worked tirelessly to bring us to this day. With 640,000 square feet of space, Legacy Tower will help us continue to serve our patients and their families, particularly children who are critically ill and have complex needs.”

When Phase One of Legacy Tower opens on May 22, the tower will house new state-of-the-art operating rooms with one intraoperative MRI, as well as a new pediatric intensive care unit (ICU), which will span four floors and open with six ORs and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neuro and transitional ICU beds.

The second phase of the Legacy Tower will open in September. The tower will be the new home of Texas Children’s Heart Center® – ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in cardiology and heart surgery. The Heart Center will have an outpatient clinic, four catheterization labs with one intraprocedural MRI, cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), four CVORs and cardiology acute care beds. The tower will also have a helistop, allowing for greater access to Texas Children’s most critically ill patients.

During the ribbon cutting event, Texas Children’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline and Texas Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier delivered their messages of appreciation, and explained what Legacy Tower will mean to our patients and their families.

“As the largest and busiest department of surgery in the country, we are called upon every day to provide some of the most complex surgeries on some of the most sickest children that this world has ever seen,” Hollier said. “The calls come in every day. Legacy Tower is the answer to those calls. I want to thank Mr. Wallace and the Board for the vision that it took to build the tower that rises above us today. It is a testimony to the commitment that they and others have made to show the rest of the world what excellence in pediatric care looks like.”

Kline also thanked the crowd for their commitment to this project, and specifically thanked Texas Children’s Chief of Critical Care Services Dr. Lara Shekerdemian and Chief of Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny for their instrumental leadership in making Legacy Tower possible. He also shared the thoughtful design that went into building the Legacy Tower to ensure we created the best and safest environment of care for our patients.

“It’s remarkable to walk through the intensive care units and to see the way the equipment has been located, the size of the rooms, the layout, the flow that will occur in patient care in those rooms,” Kline said. “Every detail has been addressed in the most thoughtful manner and in the input from the families has been really extraordinary and absolutely critical to that process.”

After Texas Children’s Chaplain James Denham delivered the blessing, the yellow ribbon was cut to symbolize the completion and imminent opening of the first phase of Legacy Tower. Guests also got a chance to meet Bailey, Texas Children’s new Legacy Tower therapy dog, and take a tour of Legacy Tower.

Texas Children’s Office of Philanthropy organized this event.

May 8, 2018

On Tuesday, May 22, Legacy Tower at Texas Children’s Hospital officially will open its doors to care for our most critically ill patients and their families. But before that day arrives, a lot of preparation and training is underway to get ready for opening day which is less than two weeks away.

Last month, multidisciplinary teams successfully completed a series of simulated patient care scenarios inside the Legacy Tower’s state-of-the-art pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), Progressive Care Unit (PCU) and OR/MRI suite to test the workflow processes in the new patient care spaces and address any potential safety concerns before the new building opens.

“For the PICU, we really focused on creating a virtual unit,” said Dr. Cara Doughty, medical director at Texas Children’s Simulation Center. “We wanted the team to participate in all of the routine work flows as well as participate in crisis scenarios and patient decompensations and codes that might happen in a PICU setting.”

In addition to clinical staff, patient families from Texas Children’s Family Advisory Committee participated in the PICU simulations and provided their perspective on how much this space is going to change the way that care is provided to children and families at Legacy Tower.

A few weeks after the PICU and PCU simulations, patient care scenarios were conducted in the operating room and MRI suite of Legacy Tower to address any potential latent safety threats and concerns before the new tower opens its doors to patients and their families.

“Our focus is not as much on design now, it’s really around those processes,” said Maria Happe, clinical senior project manager of Texas Children’s PICU Services. “We want to ensure our processes are correct, and that we ensure our training matches what we want to do and how we want to operate in this new space.”

Once the first phase of Legacy Tower opens on May 22, the tower will house new operating rooms with one intraoperative MRI, as well as a new PICU which will span four floors and open with six ORs and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neuro and transitional ICU beds.

When phase two of the Legacy Tower opens in fall 2018, the tower will be the new home of Texas Children’s Heart Center® – ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in cardiology and heart surgery. The Heart Center will have an outpatient clinic, four catheterization labs with one intraprocedural MRI, cardiovascular intensive care unit, four cardiovascular ORs and cardiology acute care beds. The tower also will have a helistop, allowing for even greater access to Texas Children’s most critically ill patients.

The Legacy Tower project would not have been possible without tremendous collaboration from teams and departments across the organization. Click here to view the Legacy Tower Activation Teams and Departments that played an integral role in the design, construction and activation of Legacy Tower.

Employees and staff can see more of Legacy Tower on Connect throughout the month. Texas Children’s Corporate Communications Team will feature a series of stories and videos on Connect promoting Legacy Tower and sharing how we are preparing for this historic move.

May 1, 2018

The final countdown to the Phase One opening of Texas Children’s Legacy Tower has begun. In less than three weeks, Legacy Tower at Texas Children’s Medical Center campus will officially open its doors to care for our most critically ill patients and their families.

But before the new tower opens on Tuesday, May 22, Texas Children’s will host an Open House on Thursday, May 10, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to give our employees and staff a chance to see parts of the tower for themselves. Self-guided tours will be hosted on floors 8 and 12 of Legacy Tower.

Employees and staff can see more of Legacy Tower on Connect throughout the month. Texas Children’s Corporate Communications Team will feature a series of stories and videos on Connect promoting Legacy Tower and sharing how we are preparing for this historic move.

April 17, 2018

For many patients and their families, trying to find parking in the garages at Texas Children’s Medical Center Campus can be challenging at times. But Texas Children’s employees and staff are finding creative solutions every day to address the concerns and needs of our patients and their families.

Coupled with the hospital’s on-going efforts to provide patients, families and visitors priority access to proximal parking to help get them to their clinical appointments on time, new enhancements to our parking garages are making it easier for patient families to find available spaces quickly while saving time.

To optimize the patient parking experience and meet the current parking demand, construction on the Parking Guidance System (PGS) in Garage 21 (Pavilion for Women/Legacy Tower) is almost complete. This project involved the installation of light sensors over parking spaces to help visitors identify whether a space is occupied (red) or available (green).

“The lights are clearly visible from several hundred feet away and electronic signage helps drivers identify the number of spaces available in various directions,” said Texas Children’s Facilities Project Manager Ted Gillis. “Since its installation, the Parking Guidance System in Garage 21 has improved the flow of traffic, and is making it easier for hospital visitors to find a spot in the garage more quickly.”

The installation of the red and green light sensors is currently in progress in Garage 16 (Wallace Tower). The PGS installation in Garage 12 (West Tower) will begin after the project is completed at Wallace Tower.

Texas Children’s continually receives feedback from patient families – and employees and staff – about impactful changes that can be implemented across the organization to promote a positive patient experience.

“By ensuring patients and families are considered first through both organization practices like the recent parking guidance enhancements and through decisions we each make as individuals, we personalize and improve what might otherwise be a stressful event for a family,” said Katie Kalenda Daggett, director of Patient and Family Services.

Additional enhancements to Garage 21

In preparation for the opening of Legacy Tower on May 22, Garage 21 under the Pavilion for Women and Legacy Tower is undergoing additional enhancements to create garage elevator lobbies for Legacy Tower, improve traffic flow and wayfinding, and increase public parking capacity.

Traffic flows have been re-configured to direct pediatric patients to Legacy Tower and women’s services patients to the Pavilion for Women. Below is a list of the designated parking areas in Garage 21.

  • Level B1 – Executives and Pavilion for Women physician leaders; valet, Wells Fargo Bank reserved spaces
  • Level B2 – Patient and visitor parking; Legacy Tower physician leaders, Wells Fargo Bank reserved spaces
  • Level B3 – Patient and visitor parking
  • Level B4 – Patient and visitor parking overflow, physicians and contract parking