Until recently, if you were a parent living on the plateau, you were in for a panic-stricken search for after hours emergency care if your child woke up in the middle of the night with severe abdominal pain. And you could spend many hours driving from the plateau to in Kirkland or in Bellevue or even further for maternity care needs.
Now plateau parents may spend much less time driving around the eastside for medical care. A welcome new resource for plateau families for medical and maternity care arrived when Swedish Issaquah opened its new campus in the Issaquah Highlands last summer. The facility offers a full range of 24/7 emergency care options, an eight bed labor and delivery center and innovations including Adventure Kids Playcare, a drop-in child care facility for kids age 12 months to 12 years, several retail shops and a restaurant.
Dr. John Milne is the Vice President for Medical Affairs for Swedish Issaquah. He says that the medical center’s emergency department can handle any family’s medical emergency from a child’s fractured bone to a dad having chest pain.
“We can start an IV on any age range patient from infant to a 100 year old.” Milne says for families with children, take note that Swedish Issaquah is the “only facility on the eastside that offers 24/7 care by a pediatrician.” And Milne says that parents can rest assured when they bring a child into Issaquah Swedish for emergency care, that “they are getting the best of both worlds”, with treatment for their child, says Milne, by “a pediatrician who has also trained in a high level trauma center.”
Swedish Issaquah’s ER is “strongly focused on customer service,” says Milne. The hospital’s ER has been a winner of the prestigious Summit Award by Press Ganey Associates.
“At a typical hospital ER you can wait two to three hours. At Swedish Issaquah, our ER patients spend an average of 90 minutes here, for a range of challenges from serious cardiac issues to sprained ankles. Your time as a patient is your most valuable asset and the last thing you want to do on a Saturday is spend hours in an ER with your child.” (Click above on the video Milne made for an explanation of when an ER visit is necessary, versus visiting the family doctor or urgent care clinic.)
Milne says that Swedish Issaquah also offers the advantages of being a “community hospital with ties to a bigger system." For patients with complex medical needs, it may be possible to take advantage of the downtown facility, which has the “expertise associated with delivering a high volume of specialized medical care.” For plateau patients, it might be possible now to have a complex procedure such as a kidney transplant done at the downtown Swedish medical center with pre and post operative care done close to home at the Swedish Issaquah campus.
In addition to emergency services, Milne takes pride in the labor and delivery services offered at Issaquah Swedish. Even if your doctor is based out of Overlake or Evergreen, if your labor progresses too quickly to make it to Redmond or Kirkland, you can now delivery safely close to home, with Swedish Issaquah’s in-house obstetrician.
Wendy Colgan, RN-C OB, MSN is the Inpatient Nurse Manager OB & Pediatrics for Swedish Issaquah. When you deliver at Swedish Issaquah, Colgan says, “you’ll get a very specialized experience.” Colgan’s own background includes many years as a labor and delivery nurse and she says that her staff focuses on “honoring the patient’s birth plan,” as much as possible.
She says that in addition to the hospital's eight labor, delivery and recovery rooms, it has three triage rooms where patients can have her labor evaluated prior to delivery. There are also two operating rooms adjacent to the maternity wing and an anesthesiologist on site 24/7 to “quickly respond to any challenging labor and delivery.” There is also an on-site operating room that patients can use for prescheduled C-sections. After delivery moms and dads typically spend the night at the hospital in a comfortable room that includes a sleeping area for partners. In addition to a full time in house OB/GYN, the hospital also offers parents the option of delivery with a midwife.
Colgan says that Swedish Issaquah offers many unique services to eastside expectant moms including an “OB speed dating program."
“You can’t just call up most physicians and say that you want to spend some of their time just to meet them. We have a program were you get to meet with OBs that deliver at Swedish Issaquah and you get a few minutes with each of them for an interview,” Colgan says. The offices for the OBs and midwives that deliver at Swedish Issaquah are conveniently adjacent to the hospital, along with a number of specialists including Perinatologists who specialize in fetal medicine and high risk pregnancies, says Colgan. “We can deliver any mom who has gone 36 weeks or later.” The hospital is licensed for a level one nursery for well newborns.
The hospital also offers many support services to new parents including lactation support seven days a week from RNs, childbirth education and several new parent support groups that meet at the facility.
She also says that some of the innovation at Swedish Issaquah will be especially appealing to expectant moms.
The Adventure Kids Playcare service is nice for expectant moms who can drop off an older child before their appointment. There are great retail shops here including Comfort and Joy that is dedicated to gifts for new moms and babies. Waiting in the lobby is a pleasant experience for family and friends waiting for the arrival of a baby.
“It is open and inviting with lots of seating options, just one flight up from Starbucks and our 1910 Café,” Colgan says. 1910 Café may represent the many innovations at the Issaquah Swedish campus, as Colgan says laughing, “the food is actually great, it is not hospital cafeteria food.”
Plateau couples who are interested in a tour of the childbirth center can visit the center’s registration page or call 206 215-3338.