VITA INFANTIS BONUM SUPERIUS – THE LIFE OF THE CHILD IS THE HIGHEST GOOD
University Children’s Hospital of Cracow (UCH) is the largest pediatric hospital in south of Poland. The objective pursued by the hospital is saving the lives and health of children starting from their first day of life. All the diagnostic and therapeutic activities are carried out respecting the rights and personal dignity of the patients and in keeping with the most current medical knowledge. The priority is creating a friendly atmosphere for the child and his family or guardians, and exercising utmost care for his safety. Close cooperation with parents or guardians of the patient is for the staff an important element of the therapeutic process.
Hospital statistical data
The hospital has almost 500 beds situated in 22 wards, four intensive care units – one for cardiac surgery patients and one for neonates – seven operating rooms (including a hybrid one dedicated solely to pediatric cases) and complete diagnostic facilities, offering extensive laboratory regular and specialist tests (such as clinical genetics and immunology) through diagnostic procedures (e.g. endoscopy, bronchoscopy) to imaging studies (CT, MRI, scintigraphy).
The annual number of ambulatory visits approximates 200,000, including roughly 33,000 visits in the Emergency Department. The number of inpatients is approximately 32,000 per year. General surgical teams, specialists in neurosurgery, reconstruction surgery, orthopedics, urology and cardiac surgery, to name a few examples, annually perform more than 7,000 operations; the number includes approximately 500 cardiac surgery procedures. Highly qualified staff, modern equipment and continuous development of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques allow for effective treatment of the most severely ill patients.
UCH is a tertiary care hospital and treats children with the most advanced forms of severe diseases, various congenital defects, especially patients with congenital heart diseases or neonates with extremely low birth weight and children with neoplastic diseases. The hospital offers services in all pediatric and surgical specialties. The staff received multiple rewards in recognition of innovative cardiac procedures. Such specialties as neurosurgery, orthopedics, hematopoietic cell transplantation, gastroenterology, endocrinology and oncology continue to develop. The only in Poland Center of Arthrogryposis Treatment is situated in UCH.
University Children’s Hospital of Cracow is a direct successor of the first Polish pediatric ward (1835), pediatric department (1864), pediatric hospital (1876) and the third in the world – after Florence (1802) and Vienna (1850) – Chair of Pediatrics.
The history of the hospital is a picture of a continuous development, constant building and extension of the infrastructure, and in recent years – its complete modernization. The original building was constructed and equipped using funds donated by Americans of Polish descent (1965). Thanks to the continuous aid offered by the US government, in 1974, a new laboratory wing was opened. Another complex of buildings with the 240-bed Rehabilitation Center admitted its first patients in 1990. The Center is fully equipped to provide physical therapy and hydrotherapy, has a gym and a swimming pool. In 1993, Clement J. Zablocki Ambulatory Care Center (CALD) was opened.
Following the political changes in Poland, American funds administered since 1974 by the Agency for International Development through the US Foundation Project HOPE were gradually diminishing to an amount allowing for carrying out and completing a single program in 2000. At the time it was felt that the new Poland was strong enough to no longer need extensive foreign aid. During the years of collaboration with Project HOPE, millions of US dollars were spent on the construction of new wings housing laboratories, a rehabilitation facility and an outpatient department, on new equipment, exchange programs with visits of US consultants to Poland and fellowships of Polish physicians, nurses, lab personnel and the like in leading American pediatric health care institutions, organization of postgraduate courses that eventually brought to Cracow participants from all over the country, and subscription of leading pediatric periodicals in the English language. The hospital, known at the time under the Polish name of “Institute of Pediatrics”, was referred to by everyone as “Polish-American Children’s Hospital” and officially adopted that name.
Changes in the Polish health care system introduced in 1999 resulted in the hospital being divided into two separate components: University Children’s Hospital of Cracow, involved in patient treatment, and Polish-American Institute of Pediatrics, an element of the Jagiellonian University Medical College, involved in pre and postgraduate teaching and research.
In its history to date, the hospital was honored by numerous visits of most eminent persons. In 1975, UCH was visited by Gerald Ford, President of the United States. In 1987, the then Vice President of the United States, George Bush, took part in the ceremony of opening the outpatient clinics of the Rehabilitation Center. The Clement J. Zablocki Children’s Ambulatory Care Center was blessed by Pope John Paul II, and in 2016, during the World Youth Day, the hospital was visited by Pope Francis.
The time of renewal
Year after year, the hospital continued its development, although no longer using foreign aid. New wards and medical units appeared. In 1999, the Radiotherapy Unit was opened, and in 2002 – the Transplantation Center. Subsequently, the Children’s Burn Center came into existence, followed by the modern Neonatal Intensive Care Unit combined with Neonatal Pathology Unit. One of the most important investment projects in recent years was the opening of the new Central Operating Suite with Central Sterilizing Unit and Intensive Care Unit in September 2011. In the same year, extensive modernization of the almost 50-year-old hospital commenced.
The principal objective of the project financed by government-appropriated funds and entitled ”Program of Modernization of University Children’s Hospital of Cracow for the years 2011-2016” was making UCH conform to modern standards and technical requirements and providing better conditions for hospitalization and treatment of the patients. During Stage 1 of the modernization, complete renovation included wards housing almost 300 beds, as well as the hospital kitchen, pharmacy, didactic and technical facilities. A new Emergency Department with a helipad was also constructed. In the years 2017-2019, modernization of the complex of buildings housing pediatric and rehabilitation wards is to be implemented.
Another project aiming at completing the modernization works and extension of the hospital is presently under preparation. The plans include modernization of the Clement J. Zablocki Children’s Ambulatory Care Center and the laboratory wing, as well as constructing a new building with wards accommodating patients with infectious diseases, pediatric and adolescent psychiatry and children on chronic ventilatory support. Further plans anticipate initiation of perinatal care. The project includes construction of two multi-level garages.
Institute of Pediatrics, Jagiellonian University Medical College, is an educational/research institution for which UCH is a teaching hospital. The Institute consists of three Chairs, ten Departments, six Divisions and three laboratories. Each of the University facilities is extensively involved in research work what results in approximately 200 reports that are published annually in most important periodicals worldwide or presented during national and international conferences. Education is provided to students of medicine, pharmacy, medical analytics, public health, nursing and other medical specialties. A special course of medical studies in English is offered to foreign students.
Additional activities for patients
Inpatients may continue their education in the hospital school which provides three levels of teaching: kindergarten, primary and secondary school. Depending on the condition of the child, didactic and therapeutic activities are organized in classrooms, playrooms or at the bedside. The duration of individual teaching provided in the ward depends on numerous factors, such as medical status of the patient, length of hospitalization, requirements associated with medical and therapeutic procedures, special educational needs, availability of teachers, etc. The school also provides extracurricular activities, with the teacher employing various psychotherapy techniques: fairy tale therapy, music therapy, art therapy, sociotherapy, relaxation techniques and supporting therapy. The patients may also borrow books from the school library. In UCH, the patients are regularly visited by artists, sportsmen and travelers. Special events, such as concerts, theater performances or numerous workshops are frequently organized. Such festive days as Children’s Day or Santa Claus day are always marked with special attractions and visits of interesting guests who bring gifts.
Facilities for parents/guardians
Social facilities for the parents are situated in the already modernized pediatric wards and include a kitchen, bathroom and a lounge. Thanks to its sponsors, University Children’s Hospital strives to constantly improve the standards of living for parents staying with their children in our institution.
Parents of children suffering from oncological and hematological diseases are offered an opportunity to stay in the first in Poland Ronald McDonald House. The House helps the parents in coping with the difficult situation of prolonged hospitalization of the patient and a prolonged stay outside of their home. Thus, the parents can be as close as possible to their child that needs support. The families have at their disposal 20 comfortable rooms, facilities for rest and recreation, a kitchen and a laundry room. Staying in Ronald MacDonald House is free of charge.
You also can help UCH!
The development of UCH is aided by the Foundation of the University Children’s Hospital of Cracow ”FOR THE HEALTH OF THE CHILD”. The Foundation collects funds and gifts-in-kind that will help the staff in their daily medical care of the patient, diagnostic and therapeutic management, and – if necessary – further post-hospitalization rehabilitation and final recovery. To this purpose, various charity programs developed by the Foundation staff are implemented; to give some examples, there is a special project addressing couples about to be married named “Give a share of your happiness”, and such annual events as money collection combined with sports tournaments for representatives of legal professions ”From lawyers to sick children”, as well as “Grand Rock for Little Hearts” or in other words cyclic concerts on behalf of pediatric cardiology.
Fundacja O ZDROWIE DZIECKA,
265 Wielicka St., 30-663 Kraków, Poland, phone/fax: +48 12 654 19 03
www.ozdrowiedziecka.pl, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bank account number for donations:
IBAN PL05 1240 4533 1111 0000 5425 8556
265 Wielicka Street, 30-663 Krakow, Poland
Phone number: +48 12 658 20 11 (operator)