HELENA – Shodair Children’s Hospital is expanding its services by adding ten beds specifically for young children to its Acute Care Unit. Previously, the unit housed 20 beds and served both children and young adults alike.
To prepare for the increase, the hospital spent the last six months designing programs and remodeling a building on campus to be used as a group home for 12 children. Though technically under the same roof, the facility will house two homes, each with six beds.
“They each have their own kitchen. They each have their own living room. They each have their own activity and eating space as well, so it’s sort of two homes in one building,” Susan Keel Anderson, Shodair Group Home Manager, said.
Prior to being a group home, the space was for parents of children at Shodair to stay while their children underwent treatment. However, Shodair said that space would be better suited for kids. Parents can still stay in town as Shodair will pay for a hotel.
The redesigned facility features bright, colorful walls and many open spaces.
“We really want the kids to feel like this is a home,” Anderson said.
Shodair has also taken on extra staff to help care for the increase in visitors.
“They’re able to really work with the kids and build those relationships and do social coaching…really teaching kids how to be in a home,” Anderson said.
The group home officially opens on March 15 and Shodair expects to fill all 12 beds within a month.
In the meantime, the hospital is hosting an open house to showcase the remodel on Tuesday March 7 at 4 p.m.