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Take a look inside Buffalo's new Children's Hospital

The $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will open next week on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, capping off years of planning to replace Women & Children’s Hospital on Bryant Street.

A marathon one-day move will begin before dawn Nov. 10 to move patients and staff into the 185-bed hospital 1.2 miles away at 818 Ellicott St.

The new Children’s Hospital is smaller than the old one, with 15 fewer beds and significantly less square footage, at 410,395 total square feet, compared to 608,830. It is connected by a pedestrian skybridge to two floors of clinics and an outpatient surgery center in the adjacent Conventus building, as well as Buffalo General Medical Center and the Jacobs Institute.

Women & Children’s Hospital, which opened in 1892 with 12 beds in a renovated home on Bryant Street,was the first pediatric hospital in New York State. As it expanded over the years, new buildings were added and aging ones were replaced on a campus that stretched three city blocks.

At 12 stories high, the new hospital was designed by Shepley Bulfinch in Boston and built by Turner Construction Co. to be more efficient and patient-friendly in its layout and equipment placement. Patient rooms wrap along the outside edge of the building, with windows offering city views.

Here's a look at what's new.

Wayfinding and Themed Floors

Old hospital: Patients had to navigate a maze of services spread out in seven buildings across 7 acres on the Elmwood Avenue campus, sometimes leading to frustration and disjointed layout. The old campus was developed over 125 years.

New hospital: A more coordinated, simplified floor layout designed for better patient flow and wayfinding through colors, symbols and signs to improve efficiency, safety and patient experience. There are 12 themed floors, such as City of Lights, Spirit of Buffalo, sports, water, seasons, parks and gardens and imagination.

An elevator lobby on the second floor of Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Mother-baby care

Old hospital: An increased focus on having mothers and their newborns room together began earlier this year, though it has been done in some form for years. The hospital was built around the longstanding practice in health care of having infants kept primarily in the nursery for care.

New hospital: Rooms are designed for moms and babies to remain together for entire stay. Nurses will tend to newborns in the delivery room, then keep babies with their mothers. Research shows that placing baby skin-to-skin immediately after delivery increases bonding, helps with breastfeeding, calms the baby and warms the newborn better than warming lights.

A birthing room in the new Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Neonatal intensive care unit

Old hospital: Shared space was designed in pods and could handle up to 64 babies.

New hospital: The 64-bed unit is made up mostly of private, single-family rooms with an open floor plan. The new NICU is divided into four areas. Three have self-contained patient areas that will each have a designated team of nurses and physicians. The fourth has a family area with seating, lockers, bathroom and laundry facilities. There are also rooms for families to stay overnight and a handful of semi-private rooms.

The latest technology has been installed in a neonatal treatment room at Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Linked to Buffalo General

Old hospital: The hospital was a standalone facility. If mothers needed additional or critical care, they had to be transported by ambulance to other medical facilities in the area; physicians also would drive to tend to them.

New hospital: Women can be transported within covered connector to adjacent Buffalo General Medical Center or Gates Vascular Institute if emergency or more intensive care is required. Physicians based on the Medical Campus are closer to the new Children’s Hospital.

The John R. Oishei Children's Hospital is connected to Buffalo General Medical Center. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Art, natural light and amenities

Old hospital: Art included donated pieces and works created by school children. The building had less natural light and less space to accommodate diverse family needs.

New hospital: A new art collection commissioned from community artists to reflect Buffalo’s heritage will be added to the hospital’s signature pieces. The lobby includes a digital mosaic of 17,000 self-portraits of patients and community members. The building has more natural light, improved patient and family areas, as well as technological improvements that include a Buffalo Zoo TV feed and entertainment systems for patients.

A waiting rooms features lots of natural light. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Cafeteria and New Era Cap Pavilion

Old hospital: The hospital had a traditional cafeteria and a Tim Hortons grab-and-go counter. The cafeteria doubled for programming and performance space.

New hospital: Instead of a traditional cafeteria, the hospital will have Joe’s Deli on the second floor with indoor seating and an outside terrace and a Tim Hortons on first floor. A pavilion in the lobby includes entertainment performance space.

The New Era Cap Pavilion will serve as programming space in the new Oishei Children's Hospital. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Bigger ER and operating space

Old hospital: Much smaller emergency department area; smaller operating rooms.

New hospital: Pediatric emergency space will be almost double the size, including an improved waiting area for families. Operating rooms are larger and better configured, with eight inpatient operating rooms on the third floor and six ambulatory surgery operating rooms on second floor. In addition to a new imaging hub, there are larger trauma resuscitation rooms and the emergency department is closer to the ambulance drop-off area. There is a more efficient flow for patients being transferred from the helipad.

The emergency room check in area in the new Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)


Old hospital: There was a smaller area for family meditative needs and an outside garden space.

New hospital: A Family Resource Center includes enhanced meditative area and tranquil space for critically and chronically ill children and their families. A new indoor garden includes music and natural sounds, as well as space for kids to grow plants and vegetables.

The wintergarden area is designed to give patients and families a calming space in the new Oishei Children's Hospital. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

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