Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

Ballad Health’s Niswonger Children’s Network J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department improves local access to specialized pediatric care to children

Ballad Health continues highlighting the regionwide impact of its newly-announced Niswonger Children’s Network, giving a glimpse inside the J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department at Bristol Regional Medical Center.

The pediatric emergency room, which opened on Sept. 1, 2020, is part of Ballad Health’s regional system of care for children, which includes an established pediatric emergency department at Niswonger Children’s Hospital and a planned department at Indian Path Community Hospital in Kingsport. To date, dedicated pediatric-trained staff at Bristol Regional and telemedicine capabilities have provided increased access to specialized pediatric care to more than 1,000 children.

“Visiting an emergency department can be an intimidating experience for children,” said Dr. Chad Couch, president of Ballad Health’s Northeast Market and chief executive officer of Bristol Regional. “We hope offering a warm and compassionate setting designed specifically for children will help reduce anxiety for families during an already difficult time.”

The J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department features a separate entrance and waiting area for families of patients, a new triage area, nurses’ station and four dedicated pediatric exam rooms. The new space is kid-friendly with bright colors and patterns.

Patients in the pediatric emergency department also have access to child life specialists to support their care and promote normalcy within an unfamiliar or potentially stressful environment, by teaching through medical play and therapy.

The pediatric emergency department was supported through a $1.2 million gift made in honor of J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder, longtime supporters of Ballad Health hospitals and programs. Earlier on March 4, Ballad Health also announced an additional $7 million commitment by the J.D. Nicewonder family to fund the new Regional Center for Perinatal and Neonatal Care and the Regional Center for Pediatric Specialties.

“We are grateful to the Nicewonder family for championing children’s causes so generously, and to Ballad Health for their insight and far-reaching plans for healthcare in the Appalachian Highlands,” said Beth Rhinehart, president of the Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce. “Not only do children in Sullivan County and Southwest Virginia have access to the best treatment available; they are able to receive care in a great new space designed with them in mind.”

Learn more information about the Niswonger Children’s Network.