AKRON – Akron Children’s Hospital implemented a swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, even as the hospital expanded across the region. Many updates were designed to meet the changing needs of patients, caregivers and families, while others were to reinforce the hospital’s ability to support local partners if necessary.
Meanwhile, the hospital continued to receive generous support from advocates across the community, who donated more than $3.9 million to Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley, championing the hospital’s missions and pandemic-related efforts.
One of those missions was working with partner hospitals in the region to ensure access to health care, even with an influx of COVID-19 patients. That meant evolving the hospital’s staffing and care guidelines to include adult patients if necessary.
“We trained and credentialed 244 pediatric providers to care for adult patients, if that should become necessary,” says Dr. Robert McGregor, chief medical officer for Akron Children’s. “While this was a significant undertaking by our medical staff, it has prepared us to help partner hospitals handle any overcapacity issues that could arise.”
Akron Children’s locations also implemented numerous COVID-19-related measures to protect patients, visitors and caregivers.
Another major effort in 2020 was fast-tracking and expanding the hospital’s telehealth video services to include more providers and service lines so patients could receive care from home.
Other growth efforts in 2020 were part of the system’s commitment to increasing access throughout the Mahoning Valley. Besides adding behavioral and mental health therapists, the hospital also expanded primary care services.
Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics in Austintown completed a major renovation that tripled the size of the facility. It now has 24 exam rooms, along with a larger waiting area, enhanced wheelchair accessibility, and increased behavioral health and assessment areas. Quick Care services will be added in 2021.
And in early 2021, Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Liberty will move from its current Youngstown, location to a larger facility at 3530 Belmont Ave., resulting in expanded pediatric primary care and mental health services.
“The changes we made throughout 2020 ultimately support the hospital’s top priority – to provide more access to the highest standard of pediatric health care,” says Grace Wakulchik, president and chief executive officer of Akron Children’s Hospital. “These changes are especially evident across the Mahoning Valley. The bold COVID-19 response, coupled with service expansions, demonstrates how our commitment to the region continues to strengthen.”