Sneak Peek: Our Dialysis Center for Kids

Categories: Medical Center News

Sneak Peek at State’s First Pediatric Outpatient Dialysis Center

In the near future, visitors to the fourth floor of Connecticut Children’s will be warmly received in the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation Dialysis Center. This is the state’s first and only pediatric outpatient dialysis center, giving children who require dialysis the opportunity to receive life-saving treatment in a facility designed specifically with their unique needs in mind.

“It’s an authentic way to pull a patient’s attention away from dialysis,” says Dr. Silva.

Cynthia Silva, MD, Division Head of Nephrology (right) explains the inspiration behind the Dialysis Center’s design, which is carried from the waiting room throughout the Center, to Tracy Wu Fastenberg, Assistant Vice President for Development: “The entire Dialysis Center reflects the ‘mountain theme’ of the fourth floor of the hospital. We incorporated neutral tones and textures, images of native grasses and birds plus variable colored lighting that helps to calm patients and parents alike, all while creating a spa-like environment.”

As patients follow the floor’s curved path from the waiting room to the exam and treatment areas, they encounter more birds in flight and an enchanting interactive light wall that changes with the seasons. In the winter, as patients pass the seasonal wall, snowflakes will gather around their silhouettes.

“It’s an authentic way to pull a patient’s attention away from dialysis,” says Dr. Silva. “Your mind cannot concentrate on anxiety and something else at the same time, so you have to give way to the excitement and joy that you’re experiencing and let go of the anxiety.”

Dr. Silva highlights the importance of individual patient lockers. “Every child has something that anchors them, whether that’s a blanket or a ‘lovey,’” she explains, “and we want them to feel like this is their space.” Each patient has a locker where they can leave special items that the dialysis nurses will have waiting to greet a patient prior to their arrival for treatment. It’s a small but meaningful touch that creates a familiar and welcoming experience for children and families in the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation Dialysis Center.

Workers put the finishing touches on the wave wall behind the curved central nurses station, which provides line-of-sight into three airy treatment rooms flooded by natural light, as well as a room where families learn how to do at-home dialysis. Rather than traditional curtained treatment areas, each room is defined by a sliding glass door where the Center’s bird motif continues. Overhead, a rainbow of soft light chases around the curves of the ceiling, providing another element of distraction for patients during their treatment, which typically last up to four hours, three times per week.

Dialysis Center Nurse Manager Dana Taylor-McDougald and Dr. Silva review the readiness of one of three patient treatment rooms. Large windows covered with a film that repeats the native grass pattern provide both natural light and privacy. The treatment chair is scaled to fit pediatric patients and has a leather-like covering that withstands the presence of blood products, but has a luxurious feel designed to soothe the child during dialysis. The unit next to the treatment chair, is a Tablo hemodialysis machine. Connecticut Children’s is among the first to use the Tablo system for pediatric-specific care along with traditional machines. The self-contained system is being used throughout the country for in-center driven dialysis and is less stressful for patients and families.

If you would like to support the Dialysis Center at Connecticut Children’s, please visit