Topeka (WIBW) - When a teenager has to be hospitalized, they usually don't appreciate being around the babies and toddlers. In much the same way, someone in their early 20s might not be comfortable rooming with a senior citizen.
Stormont-Vail HealthCare recently created a place just for these young adults. The Young Adult Center is a unit that targets the needs of those aged 15 to 25.
Hospitalist Dr. Kevin Dishman says young adults have different needs than the adults usually seen on adult floor, who are usually elderly. The younger patients, he said, need more social interaction and they need to be around people their own age and can identify with.
That's also true of teens. Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kirsten Evans says being separated from younger children helps them feel they're not being talked down to. She says adolescents will talk to you more openly if they feel you're treating them seriously as adult. Having them answer questions about their symptoms and pain more honestly helps doctors treat them more appropriately.
Evans and Dishman also says the Young Adult Center helps the transition from pediatric to adult care, particularly for those with conditions like muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis who are living longer.
Evans says the Young Adult Center helps the pediatricians work together with their adult colleagues on issues one or the other may not be used to dealing with.
In addition to knowledge and medical tools, the rooms in the Young Adult Center are equipped with video game consoles and wireless access - just part of meeting the needs of an age group previously caught in the middle.