Blythedale recently opened a new 3,400 square-foot pharmacy, tripling its previous size and expanding the Hospital's ability to treat current and future medically fragile infants, children and adolescents.
At Blythedale, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians care for more than 100 children every day, serving patients on the inpatient units, in the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Pediatric Long Term Care Pavilion, and in the Robert Stone Day Hospital.
"Construction of this new pharmacy was an incredibly important component of our $145 million master facilities plan that kicked off in 2011 with the opening of our new inpatient hospital," said Blythedale President & CEO Larry Levine. "We are thrilled that our talented and highly skilled pharmacy team now has a space that not only matches their level of expertise, but enables them to provide new and vitally important therapies to our fragile pediatric population."
The updated space includes several important new features, including a main technician fill area, where many of the doses for pediatric patients are compounded and prepared, and a central checking area for pharmacy staff to communicate with physicians and do order entry, ensuring medication accuracy. The space also includes a controlled substances room specifically built to meet New York State Department of Health, and Bureau of Narcotics requirements. In this area, all controlled substances are stored and locked securely. The room includes an Omnicell controlled substance manager, which is an electronic system that manages dispensing, tracking and discrepancy resolution of controlled substances throughout the hospital.
One of the most unique features of the new pharmacy is the sterile compounding area for IV preparation. This new state-of-the-art cleanroom enables Blythedale to admit patients on parenteral injections, such as complex blood products, Total Parenteral Nutrition, monoclonal therapy, and extended infusions. The area is humidity and temperature controlled, as well as pressure monitored. In order to enter the area, staff are required to don full proper protective equipment and follow specific handling procedures, ensuring a sterile and safe environment for patients.
"This new hazardous room allows us to take any patients on chemotherapy or who require other hazardous injections," said Pradeepan Ananthasingam, Pharm.D., M.B.A., Director of Pharmacy at Blythedale. "The cleanroom allows us to make parenteral injections that are stable and sterile for a longer time. Instead of having to change an IV every day on a child, we can make an IV that can last three days or longer."
The new space also includes a room for hazardous non-sterile preparations. This room is also pressure monitored and is vented to the outside of the building. These improvements offer safer handling measures for staff so that they are not breathing in potentially harmful particles when they are crushing tablets for medication.
"We are very grateful to Hospital leadership for moving forward with this construction in the middle of COVID, said Ananthasingam. "When many hospitals were canceling projects due to the pandemic, we were pushing forward. We are very humbled and honored by this new pharmacy and look forward to the new ways we can improve the delivery of care to our patients."