Officials at the Leon S. Peters Burn Center at Community Regional Medical Center showed off upgrades to the outpatient center Thursday made possible by $1 million from Dave and Anne Bush of Hanford.
The Bushes committed to a $500,000 matching gift of up to $1 million for the Bush Family Pediatric & Young Adult Burn Center, said Katie Zenovich, vice president for corporate development at Community Medical Centers.
The gift from the Bush family and their friends allowed the burn center to create an environment that is patient-centered and child-friendly, she said.
The majority of patients at the Leon S. Peters Burn Center are children and young adults, clinical director Sandra Yovino said. Burn injuries can be devastating both physically and emotionally, she said.
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“Unlike many other types of injuries, healing from a burn injury requires multiple dressing changes and possibly, multiple surgeries. Returning to a burn center for dressing changes and care causes anxiety, especially for the children,” she said. “Some patients are hospitalized for months, being separated from family, school, job and friends.”
Dave Bush, owner of Bush Construction, said Thursday he was happy to help create a friendly place for young burn victims. “I was a volunteer firefighter for 12 years in Lemoore,” he said. “Burn victims and taking care of them are near and dear to my heart. And I love kids.”
Besides renovations to outpatient treatment rooms and a play room, Yovino said the donation has allowed the burn center to add programs, including a child life program. A child life specialist now works with children to prepare them for treatments and surgeries, and helps children and families cope with hospital stays. The funding also allowed for the purchase of distraction toys and other medical therapy interventions, she said.
The burn center also created a a pediatric support group that provides children with an opportunity to be with other children with like injuries. Providing support to the children, while educating them on their responses to stares, comments and questions can be life-changing, Yovino said. Children, with the support of burn staff, are taken on day trips to practice what they have learned.
Children also are also reintroduced back into their school system with the center’s “Back to School” program. Burn staff, the child life specialist and a social worker visit the school, educate administrators, teachers, and students for the return of a burned child to the classroom. The students learn about burn injuries, some of the experiences a child will have after a burn injury, and how to prevent a burn.