Like the foundation beams of a bridge, Ranken Jordan helps support kids and families with safe passage from the hospital to home. “The magnitude of the bridge is dependent on the needs of the family,” says president and CEO Lauri Tanner. “For some patients, it could be over a creek; and for others, it’s like the Golden Gate Bridge. But it is about moving, and it is about transition—with the end result being home for our children.”
For that reason, the nonprofit pediatric specialty hospital has rebranded itself with the statement: Ranken Jordan is a bridge between the hospital and home for young patients and their families. Tanner hopes the rebranding campaign will bring clarity and awareness to the hospital’s identity and role in the community. Ranken Jordan often is confused with the local technical college, or one of the area’s full-service children’s hospitals, Tanner explains. “We no longer want to be the city’s best-kept secret—we want people to know who we are. We have always bridged that gap between tertiary children’s hospitals and home.”
Ranken Jordan annually admits about 800 patients, following their stays in children’s hospitals across the Midwest and the nation. From newborns to 21-year-olds, patients' diagnoses range from genetic disorders to brain and spinal cord injuries, and babies suffering from the effects of prematurity. “We treat medically complex patients who no longer need the intensive care unit, but are not ready to go home. And we train parents on how to support their children after the hospital.”
Ranken Jordan’s rebranding campaign also includes a new logo, featuring RJ, 'a mascot on a magic carpet.' “I call him the magic carpet guy,” Tanner says with a smile. “He symbolizes that kids can come here and we teach them how to fly.” She adds that it also reflects the “magic” that happens at Ranken Jordan. “We have kids and parents say that you made the impossible possible.”
RJ also represents the hospital’s 'care beyond the bedside' model. At the hospital, the 'magic carpet ride' is a journey back to living again, Tanner says. And that means kids aren’t just patients lying in beds—they are up and about inside and outside the hospital. “We practice living at Ranken Jordan, not just being sick,” Tanner notes. Often with the help of volunteers, the staff leads kids in art therapy, playground time, skiing, golf, and trips to the Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis Science Center, and Blues and Cardinals games. “When we had snow, we took kids out sledding on the property,” Tanner says. “And for kids who couldn’t go outside, we brought in buckets of snow so they could still play in it.”
All 350 of the hospital’s employees take their respective roles related to caring for the young patients seriously, Tanner notes, from pediatricians, rehabilitation physicians, child and family psychiatrists, nurses and child life therapists to members of the finance office. “Even if you ask our cleaning staff what they do here, they say, I help take care of these kids.”
And even more caring people are needed to assist Ranken Jordan as the need continues to rise—the medically complex patient population has grown 28 percent across the state in recent years due to advancements in medicine, Tanner says. “Ranken Jordan needs to be here to take care of more of those kids. I welcome anybody who wants to give us a call, take a tour or get involved. They’ll be surprised at all the great work we do here.”
ON THE COVER: Ranken Jordan works to be a bridge between the hospital and home for medically complex young patients and their families. For more information, call 872-6400 or visit rankenjordan.org.