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Family Center Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Families

March 5, 2010

Tradition says gifts of tin and aluminum should be given on your ten year anniversary. However, this year in the Froedtert Hospital Family Center, staff and volunteers gave the same thing they have given the past 10 years…smiles, support and compassion. Not to mention cookies, coffee and a comfortable place to stay!


It’s a well known fact that Wauwatosa resident John Balzer, vice president, Facility Planning and Development for Froedtert Hospital is a futuristic thinker and planner when it involves the spaces and walls of Froedtert Hospital.


The demolition of Doyne County Hospital was scheduled to begin in December 2000, and the building needed to be vacated. In 1999, John began to develop a plan that would center patient family services in one area. These services would include Chaplaincy, Patient Relations and Social Services.


John recalled a kindness given to his family when his father was hospitalized and very ill. His family was offered a room that provided a private and comfortable space to be together. “This room was far away from my dad’s hospital room and didn’t have any amenities, but was a God send for my family during a difficult time.”


The Family Center concept was envisioned as the cornerstone of an area that provided support services to family and friends who had a loved one in surgery or an ICU. Families of trauma patients would also be included since the Trauma Unit waiting room also needed to be moved. Froedtert Hospital first became an adult Level 1 Trauma Center in 1995 when we purchased the County Hospital buildings.


Previously at Froedtert, a 400 square-foot waiting room on the fourth Floor served ICU and surgical families. This space was inconsistently staffed, congested and lacked space for private family and medical staff consultations. The new Family Center would have 3,000 square-feet and offer a range of amenities that set the standard in the country. It still does.


The Family Center officially opened February 17, 2000. In 2010, we celebrated 10 years of service to 700,000 visitors who have entered our doors and we continue to serve more than 80,000 visitors each year. The overall mean score for Family Center services tops 96 on a 100 point scale!

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