Erie, Pa. (December 12, 2019) – AHN Saint Vincent, part of the Allegheny Health Network, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation today announced the opening of an Austin’s Playroom at the hospital on December 12 on the hospital’s first floor, adjacent to the Saint Vincent Dining Room.

The playroom provides kids a place to play and relax prior to surgery or when visiting a loved one.

Austin’s Playroom features comfortable child-sized furnishings, as well as games, toys, books, electronics, and child-friendly artwork. Nathalie Lemieux uniquely and personally designs each playroom. Each playroom features a train table, wall-mounted games, large screen TV, and much more, inside a brightly painted room.

In attendance were Nathalie Lemieux, vice president, Mario Lemieux Foundation and chair, Austin’s Playrooms and Saint Vincent President Chris Clark, DO, MHA, construction companies, including E. E. Austin & Son, Bauer Specialty, Beals-McMahon Painting, Rabe Environmental Systems and WAE Balancing, Inc., as well as special invited guests. 

“We are so pleased to open the 38th Austin’s Playroom,” said Nathalie Lemieux. “Our goal is to reach as many children and families as possible, and we are excited to bring an Austin’s Playroom to children and families at Saint Vincent.”

Austin’s Playrooms was established as a result of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux’s personal experience while caring for their infant son, Austin. In 1996, Austin was born profoundly premature and spent 71 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. While they were caring for Austin, there was nothing to engage his sisters, who were both toddlers at the time. It was then Mario and Nathalie realized a need for playrooms and began their plan to establish Austin’s Playrooms.

“Having to undergo surgery can be a scary process for a patient and his or her family, and the stress of waiting can make it even more so,” said Chris Clark, DO, MHA, President of Saint Vincent. “Having an Austin’s Playroom here will ensure that patients and families have a bright and comfortable place to relax and play. This addition will enable us to improve the patient experience, offering a form of distraction that reduces anxiety whether as a patient or visitor.”

#  #  #

About Saint Vincent

Saint Vincent Hospital, Erie, Pa., is a part of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), an eight- hospital integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. Saint Vincent and AHN share a mission of providing high-quality, high-value health services to the people of Erie County and surrounding northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York regions. Founded in 1875 as Erie’s first hospital, Saint Vincent is a 371 bed hospital that employs 2,812 health care professionals, including 451 physicians. Saint Vincent’s commitment to clinical care excellence and innovation has earned it national recognition by leading healthcare organizations. Saint Vincent’s surgical team provides advanced procedures for patients with cardiovascular, neurological, orthopaedic, oncologic, pulmonary and gynecologic disease. The hospital is rated No. 1 in Erie for Medical Excellence in Cancer Care, Heart Attack Treatment, and Major Neuro-Surgery, and No. 1 in Erie^ for Patient Safety in Cancer Care, Heart Failure Treatment, Major Neurosurgery, and Trauma Care by CareChex. It has also earned the Blue Distinction® Center+ award for cardiac care, knee and hip replacement,