Today, on Monday, the first family-oriented pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation for hemato-oncological, immunological and metabolic diseases as well as diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in Austria was opened in St. Veit im Pongau. It bears the name of Leuwaldhof. Here, 82 beds are available for children and teenagers as well as for their families. The project has been implemented in a competence partnership with the leading healthcare provider VAMED and the Regional Hospitals of Salzburg (SALK).
Leuwaldhof was built in the record time of just ten months. The facility combines top-level medical-therapeutic competence with a particularly family-friendly architecture, making it one of the most modern pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation clinics in Europe. “Together we are strong as lions!” is the motto under which children and their families find their way back into a largely normal everyday life, alluding to the name of the facility, which means “Lion Forest Manor”.
Salzburg’s Governor Dr. Wilfried Haslauer: “The opening of Leuwaldhof is a milestone in the Austrian healthcare system. I am proud that with our new family-oriented pediatric rehabilitation program we have created a unique health service in Salzburg. The Province of Salzburg and the Regional Hospitals of Salzburg thus once more emphasize their competence in the field of pediatric and adolescent medicine. At the same time, we are also strengthening the region economically. In the three sun-terrace municipalities of St. Veit, Schwarzach and Goldegg, 1700 jobs have already been created in the health sector. With the pediatric rehabilitation facility, another 40 full-time jobs will be added.”
Dr. Ernst Wastler, CEO of VAMED AG: “As a leading healthcare provider, we have combined our global competence in the planning, construction and operation of healthcare facilities with the expertise of the Regional Hospitals of Salzburg. After the go-ahead for implementation of the pediatric rehab in St. Veit, we executed this project as a new building efficiently and in a quality-conscious manner in only 10 months. In perfect cooperation with the Province of Salzburg and the Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions, we have created a unique family-oriented rehabilitation program for children and adolescents with cancer or metabolic diseases.”
Dr. Alexander Biach, Chairman of the Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions: “Only at the end of May last year we were here for the groundbreaking ceremony – now the commissioning of Leuwaldhof is already within reach. With the first family-oriented pediatric rehab in Austria, we are closing an important supply gap in the domestic health care system. The insurance providers will make their contribution by issuing rehabilitation approvals swiftly and unbureaucratically.”
Deputy Governor of the Province and Provincial Councilor for Health Dr. Christian Stöckl: I am delighted that, together with its partners VAMED and SALK, Salzburg has been able to prevail in the Austria-wide strife for the location for this pediatric rehab. The competition was very strong, and I have always lobbied personally at the highest levels for the Salzburg location. The new facility, into which 13 million euros have been invested, can be officially opened today after only about ten months of construction time. Leuwaldhof offers children and adolescents, as well as their family members, a tailor-made environment in order to cope with the consequences of an oncological disease or a chronic metabolic disease in the best possible way. With medical-psychiatric rehabilitation, oncological rehabilitation and now pediatric rehabilitation, St. Veit im Pongau is Salzburg’s largest rehabilitation location.”
Leuwaldhof offers young patients first-class medical care in an environment that encourages them to return to the world and actively participate in life again. Experts and stakeholders were involved already in the planning phase in order to prepare an offer in which medical and therapeutic competence and architectural design interlock in the best possible way. Top experts from St. Anna Children’s Hospital in Vienna and the University Clinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Regional Hospitals of Salzburg contributed their expertise, as representatives of the Pediatric Cancer Aid Association and of self-help groups did.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sperl, Head of the Salzburg University Hospital for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine: “With our comprehensive knowledge of oncological diseases and metabolic diseases, we do not just provide the medical backup for the pediatric rehab St. Veit; above all, we contribute our knowledge, also from our previous projects in the field of pediatric rehabilitation. I have personally campaigned very intensively for Leuwaldhof, and I am happy that we have managed to build such a beautiful house with a holistic medical and therapeutic concept.”
Focus on family orientation
Family orientation is the mainstay in Leuwaldhof. For the first time, the therapeutic measures offered focus not solely on the affected child, but on the entire family, which is admitted to the rehabilitation facility together with the child. The families are to be strengthened as supporting systems. It is also important to recognize and treat symptoms that have occurred in family members as a result of the disease.
True to the motto “Together we are strong as lions!”, the environment and the spatial design impart security and confidence. Leuwaldhof provides a framework into which families can retreat in order to re-establish themselves. Siblings separated by hospitalization find back to each other in shared nurseries.
Patients who have started treatment as children and completed it as adolescents are encouraged to catch up on important developmental stages, reconnect with the family system, and make friends among their peers. Sensory elements, graffiti art or wall games, as well as an adventure playground and a sports field stimulate physical and mental regeneration. Through cooperation with the Regional Healing Academy Salzburg, scholastic support is ensured. For younger children, attending the kindergarten is made possible by special staff of Leuwaldhof.
VAMED and SALK – pioneers in rehabilitation and oncology With the Sonnberghof in Bad Sauerbrunn (Burgenland), opened in 2009, and the Oncological Rehabilitation St. Veit im Pongau, opened in 2014, VAMED pioneered the aftercare of cancer patients. The Salzburg University Hospital and the Regional Hospitals of Salzburg (SALK) are the Austrian pioneers in cancer research and treatment. Since 2010, the university hospital has also been operating a pediatric neuro-rehabilitation unit, which provides unique aftercare for children and adolescents after serious illnesses and accidents resulting in injuries to the brain and nervous system. VAMED has a 76-percent interest and SALK a 24-percent interest in the construction and operating company for the pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation facility in St. Veit. VAMED and SALK have invested around 13 million euros into the new facility. The financing partner is Raiffeisen-Leasing GmbH.