San Antonio, TX – A bright and inviting room full of toys and activities is becoming a welcomed escape from the hospital bed for young patients who are placed under isolation precautions at Methodist Children’s Hospital.

After spending nearly one week inside his hospital room, three-year-old Nikolai Valle cracked his first smile in days when he had the opportunity to play like a normal toddler again.

Valle was the first patient to experience the hospital’s new Clubhouse, which is designed exclusively for young patients who have been placed on isolation precautions. The Clubhouse is unique in that only one patient can play inside the room at a time. After each patient uses the room, it must be specially cleaned before another patient can use it.

Traditionally, isolation patients must stay inside their room during their hospital stay. This protects the patient, their family, visitors and hospital workers from the spread of certain germs.

“It is tough on the patient and tough on the parent to remain in the same room for so long. They get cabin fever,” said Melisa Le, Director of the Pediatric Medical Unit.

Valle was upset and irritable, and rightfully so. He had an extremely itchy rash, but he had to wait to take an antihistamine in order to stay on his strict medication schedule. The Clubhouse served as a fun distraction because Valle was too busy playing to scratch his rash.

At Methodist Children’s Hospital the patient’s experience is a high priority. Staff work to create a warm and fun environment for every patient through different activities throughout the day.

“We are looking forward to the new Clubhouse because it will afford isolation patients a good time while they heal, and it offers a much-needed break from their hospital room,” Le said.