On Nov. 19, Children's National officially opened the Dream Clinic, a clinic for children battling cancer that's been transformed into a convenient, child-friendly space. The Dream Clinic embodies the hospital’s commitment to treating the whole child, which means not only caring for a child’s physical health, but also offering psychological and emotional support.“This dream began almost three years ago when I spoke at a Friends of Oncology meeting,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dome, chief of oncology at Children’s National. “The next day Elizabeth Kaufman Blalack volunteered to chair our 2013 Heroes Gala, with a goal to raise $500,000. They raised over $680,000 for the project!”Thanks to these efforts, children and families no longer have to sit anxiously in a sterile waiting room before their appointments. Instead, they are greeted by vibrant cartoon murals of a forest and animals, and a colorful fish tank. In addition there are computerized check-in stations, which allow parents to efficiently check in and monitor their child’s appointments in real time.
A new phlebotomy space ensures that each child may have labs drawn in privacy, while an improved team center allows doctors to consult with colleagues, enter and search for electronic data, and track patient progress simultaneously. A cutting-edge chemistry analyzer expedites each and every visit so that families can get results back sooner. Infusion pods painted in themes of “space,” “garden,” and “jungle” distract and entertain while nurses provide life-saving chemotherapy. There are even treasure maps available so children can search for hidden objects embedded in the murals while they wait.“Every one of the 225 new cancer patients diagnosed at Children’s National this year will have an easier road because of your support and dedication,” Blalack said. “All of these changes guarantee that the young patients and families treated at Children’s National will not only receive the very best medical care available, but that it will be provided in the most supportive way we know how. Now patients, families, and providers can focus on the most important task in front of them: beating cancer.”