WE INVESTED IN CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND OPENED THE MOST MODERN PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL IN THE REGION
With the opening of the new Pediatric Hospital, Acibadem Sistina now provides complete treatment for children’s diseases and you will literally be able to receive full treatment in one place, from diagnosis to therapy. In the new 4,000 m2 modern space, equipped with the latest technology, the health of the youngest patients is taken care of by an eminent team of proven pediatric subspecialists. For the results and experiences so far, as well as for the new services of the Pediatric Hospital, we talked with Dr. Dushko Fidanovski, head of Pediatrics.
- Dr. Fidanovski, from today’s perspective, was it challenging to create a hospital where child care comes first?
The idea of creating such an institution was one of our goals ever since the hospital started operating more than 10 years ago when it comprised a well-organized maternity ward and neonatology ward. All the past years we have been working on creating conditions for the provision of healthcare services from other pediatric subspecialties as well, apart from neonatal care. With the great understanding and support from the hospital management in every way, and thanks to the space, staff and technical conditions and the professional work of the pediatricians, both those who have already worked in the Department and those who joined us in the team later, we have gained the trust of patients in our country and in the region.
- Dr. Fidanovski, can you explain to us, what does the new Pediatric Hospital include?
This pediatric institution, designed to provide integral care for children’s health is a real children’s hospital occupying an area of 4,000m2 of the Acibadem Sistina Hospital complex, composed of several units that are functionally and spatially connected, with a multidisciplinary approach in providing all pediatric healthcare services.
First, I would start with the new Outpatient Care facility that covers an area of about 1,200m2 arranged according to the highest healthcare and aesthetic standards for hospital activity in which outpatient care (diagnosis, short treatment and follow-up examinations of chronic patients) in the field of the following pediatric subspecialties will take place: pulmoallergology, rheumatology, neurology, nephrology, hematology/oncology, otorhinolaryngology, radiology, ophthalmology, dentistry, pediatric surgery and gastroenterology. The Outpatient Care will also include a Center for early detection and treatment of children with special needs, which will have appropriate conditions for complete healthcare of these children, from diagnosis and treatment, to monitoring of the treatment results and the overall development. A novelty is that Outpatient Care will include an Orthopedic Consulting Room and Pediatric Dentistry. It will also include an office for growth and development monitoring and nutrition advice for the smallest population, newborns and infants, as well as a consulting room for support of breastfeeding. In a separate section and with a separate access to it is the new Pediatric Emergency Center which provides 24/7 care of all emergencies in children, quick diagnosis on the spot, administration of appropriate therapy and short-term care (day hospital) for children. We have all the necessary equipment to perform all diagnostic procedures (ultrasound diagnostics, EEG diagnostics, X-ray, allergy testing, pulmonary function tests, psychological and developmental assessments, laboratory and microbiological examinations in children), as well as a room for minor surgical procedures (wound care, injuries and immobilization).
Closely related to Outpatient Care is the Inpatient Ward of the Pediatric Department: the Pediatric Inpatient Ward and the Department of Neonatology with Neonatal Intensive Care. The Pediatric Inpatient Ward has 16 patient rooms for children in need of hospitalization, designed as single rooms with the possibility of staying with accompaniment (parent). The Neonatology Department is designed on the principle of 24-hour “rooming in”, i.e. the newborn and mother stay in the same room from the moment of birth until the discharge from the maternity ward, which is very important for normal adaptation of the newborn as well for the process of establishing lactation and breastfeeding.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has 13 units for special and intensive care, providing care to critically ill newborns born in our hospital or other hospital, and having modern equipment for treatment and care of these patients. The neonatal emergency transport service is intended for transfer of newborns in need of Intensive Care, staying in another hospital in the country or region, or for transfer of children from one department to another in our hospital.
An experienced multidisciplinary team of doctors consisting of 36 doctors from different pediatric subspecialties, pediatric surgeon, pediatric cardiac surgeon, pediatric anesthesiologists, pediatric orthopedist, speech therapist, special educator, 50 pediatric nurses, 30 hospital attendants and other non-medical staff, takes care of the implementation of all healthcare services at the highest professional level.
- What equipment does the Pediatric Hospital have and how important is this equipment for timely and accurate diagnosis?
Prompt and accurate diagnosis is our priority in providing healthcare services to children. In the Pediatric Emergency Center, in Outpatient Care, as well as in the Inpatient Ward, there are appropriate conditions for the so-called “bed side” diagnosing, i.e. diagnosis by the hospital bed or with the patient walking only a short distance between the departments. We have the opportunity for complete biochemical and microbiological evaluation of patients, performing various imaging techniques (computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, PET-CT, complete ultrasound diagnostics) for examination of internal organs, possibility for performing skin and blood allergy tests, complete pulmonary function diagnostics, electronic and ultrasound examination of the central nervous system, invasive diagnostic procedures (biopsies, angiographies, bone marrow punctures with cytological analysis, endoscopic examinations of the digestive tract – gastroscopy and colonoscopy, lumbar puncture, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis), i.e. everything that is necessary for diagnosis of all health problems that can occur in children
- Pediatric Dentistry is also a novelty. What exactly do you offer in this area?
One of the novelties, in order to provide complete healthcare service to children, is the introduction of Pediatric Dentistry, which will be part of the new Outpatient Care facility. The team of dentists performs all types of dental interventions in the field of preventive and aesthetic dentistry, oral surgery and orthodontics. Acibadem Sistina’s dentists have many years of experience and a special approach to working with children with special needs and phobias. Where necessary, dental interventions are performed under anesthesia. Since we are working with the youngest patients, special attention is paid to education for proper maintenance of oral hygiene and developing positive habits from the youngest age.
- You also announced news regarding the care of children with special needs. What does your Center for early detection and treatment of children with special needs offer?
Early detection of developmental abnormalities in children and their timely treatment are of particular importance for future development of these patients. The Center provides healthcare to children with a wide range of conditions, including deviation from normal mental and motor development, socialization problems, speech disorders and autism spectrum disorders. A novelty in the work of this Center is the introduction of treatment with sensory stimulation, a method that gives excellent results in speech therapy in children. The Center has a multidisciplinary team consisting of developmental pediatrician, pediatric neurologists and special educator-speech therapist, enabling simultaneous assessment of the child, correlation of the obtained results and continuous monitoring of the treatment effects. The treatment of each child is individual, with a predetermined work plan that gives successful results. The Center is located in a separate section in order to provide the necessary conditions for working with children with special needs.
- Pediatric Surgery is also an important part of the overall treatment and requires a lot of experience…
One of the important parts in the care of children’s health are the surgical conditions in children, and diseases, most often congenital, in newborns and infants pose a great challenge for treatment. Since last year we have managed to introduce pediatric surgery and surgery of infants, of which we are especially proud, so I can freely say that there is no health problem in children requiring surgical treatment which we cannot solve in our hospital.
A wide range of pediatric surgeries are performed at Acibadem Sistina Hospital (neonatal or newborn surgery, urology, pediatric trauma, pediatric thoracic surgery, pediatric oncology surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, minimally invasive treatment, laparoscopic surgery, cystoscopy, thoracoscopy). Thanks to the sophisticated equipment, most of the interventions are performed with a minimally invasive approach through a small surgical incision that results in less pain, faster healing and shorter hospital stay of the child. For early diagnosis, preoperative preparation and postoperative monitoring of patients, a special outpatient room is available, as well as a room for minor surgical interventions in the new Outpatient Care facility of the hospital. Interventions in children, as well as postoperative monitoring, are performed by a pediatric surgery specialist with many years of experience in this field, as well as by a team of pediatricians – subspecialists working at the Pediatric Department.
We are making a big step forward in the care of children’s health, i.e. care of children with congenital or acquired heart defects by establishing the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery with Intensive Care. The Department that has 7 cardiac surgery units and 7 pediatric intensive care units, sophisticated equipment for diagnosis and treatment of children with heart conditions aged 0-18, and a team consisting of cardiac surgeons, pediatricians, pediatric intensivists and pediatric anesthesiologists, assisted by a team of cardiac surgeons and paediatricians with extensive experience from Acibadem, Istanbul, our partner, are a guarantee for leadership position in providing the best healthcare for the children’s heart in our country and in the region.
- Parents trust Acibadem Sistina’s pediatric team from the very beginning, can you tell us how many pediatric examinations and interventions have been done so far in the hospital and what is the trend of the number of deliveries?
The trust shown to us by all the patients not only from our country, but also from the region, as well as the number of patients who have received health services in our Department, which is constantly increasing year by year, is a real indicator of our good work, and justification of our investments in spatial and professional expansion of the Department.
I would like to mention only some of the indicators for our work. The Pediatric Outpatient Care and the Pediatric Emergency Center perform about 32,000 interventions per year (examinations and diagnostic interventions), and the number of hospitalized patients in the Pediatric Inpatient Ward is about 800 children per year. Last year we had over 1,500 newborns, of which about 200 newborns were treated at the Intensive Care Unit, making us one of the top three maternity hospitals in the country and the only private hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The Department of Pediatric Surgery completed 2019, the first year after the opening of the Department, with 200 interventions, and for the first 6 months this year 102 different pediatric interventions were performed. All these numbers have increased by 10-15% annually in the past ten years. Of course, we do not stop here, our intention is to further maintain this trend in the coming years, and the opening of the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and the plans to develop pediatric oncology, pediatric gastroenterology, and to introduce new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, outlined in the development plan for the next 2021, will certainly contribute to it. When it comes to novelties and new activities, it is especially noteworthy that the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Pediatric Emergency Transport Center started operating, taking care of pediatric critically ill pediatric patients who will need such treatment, thus complementing the segment of intensive care that was missing at our hospital.
- You are opening the new Pediatric Department in conditions of a coronavirus pandemic, which means operating in compliance with strictly defined recommendations. How do you protect yourself and your patients?
Since the beginning of the year, the coronavirus pandemic required quick, but professional and effective set of measures, both for the staff and for the patients, in order to work smoothly, regularly and safely with the patients who use our hospital’s healthcare services. The hospital and all employees took all necessary precautions, and many protocols were introduced in accordance with the official recommendations of WHO and our Ministry of Health in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the use of personal protective equipment for all staff, depending on the risk of coronavirus exposure, triage was also introduced at the hospital entrance for all outpatients, including children, to prevent children with any infection to be mixed with those coming to the hospital due to an another health problem. One of the great benefits in protecting the staff and patients in our hospital was the introduction of all types of diagnostic tests for Covid-19 at the very beginning of the epidemic, when we were the only ones in our country using all tests. We introduced a rapid serological test for coronavirus detection, which screens for patients at high risk for presence of the virus in a very short time (10-15 minutes). Soon after, we also started using the latest method of PCR virus detection, not only for our needs, for hospital patients, but also for outpatients at a special Covid-19 test site outside the hospital. We have introduced protocols for treatment of children at risk for Covid-19 in need of other healthcare services, so that they can receive treatment safely and effectively, and at the same time not endanger their own health or the health of others. With all the procedures undertaken, we have managed to maximally protect our medical staff and to ensure smooth and safe handling of patients. We were among the first ones to offer our hospital facilities to the health system in our country to deal with the pandemic if need arises, and we remain ready until the pandemic is resolved.