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July 23, 2015

Hospital addition zeroes in on better patient care

  • New inpatient wing at Whidbey General will have 39 beds and decentralized nursing stations that will let nurses spend more time tending to patients.
  • By PHIL DUFF
    HDR

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    Duff

    Whidbey General Hospital is building a new inpatient wing and perioperative unit at its main hospital in Coupeville. The funding was approved by voters in 2013, and the project will be completed in 2017.

    The new 60,000-square-foot inpatient wing is focused on patient-centered care, and provides all-new inpatient beds, as well as space for a new pharmacy, lab and materials management facilities on the lower level. The existing patient wings will be renovated for other needs, including a new perioperative unit.

    Greater efficiency

    The new inpatient beds include 12 acuity-adaptable rooms that can be used for intensive care or medical surgical services, 21 medical surgical rooms, and six labor and delivery rooms.

    The layout of the new rooms is identical, or “same-handed,” which has been proven to improve efficiency of care. In all of the new inpatient rooms, there will be dedicated spaces for the caregiver, patient and family members. The caregiver’s zone, for example, provides immediate access to the patient and his or her care supplies.

    Care is delivered to the patient rooms from decentralized nursing stations and nurse servers that are dedicated to each room. The elimination of the traditional central nurses’ station enables the nursing staff to spend a significantly greater percentage of their workday delivering care since their work area is adjacent to each pair of rooms, resulting in better patient outcomes.

    Image courtesy of HDR [enlarge]
    The main floor of the new inpatient wing will cantilever over the lower-level base. The design was inspired by a fort built by local settlers in 1855.



    Whidbey General Hospital
    Location:
    101 N. Main St., Coupeville

    Size:
    60,000-square-foot new patient wing;
    10,000-square-foot renovation

    Substantial completion:
    January 2017

    Opening:
    Summer 2017




    “HDR designs, based on superior understanding of inpatient care, have led to documented increases in how much time nurses can spend at the bedside,” said Linda Gipson, Whidbey General’s chief nursing officer.

    Natural light and views of nature have been proven to help the healing process, and both are emphasized with large windows in the inpatient rooms. The windows afford patients beautiful views of the community and landscape surrounding Whidbey Island.

    The new 10,000-square-foot perioperative unit renovation is in space vacated by the former patient rooms, and is the first step in allowing for future expansion of the hospital’s operating rooms.

    Designed on budget

    Andersen Construction joined the project early in the schematic design phase as the general contractor/construction manager.

    Andersen completed an initial construction estimate based on the approved pre-design completed by HDR, and company representatives collaborated with HDR’s design team through the completion of the bid packages. Jon Bayles of JMB Consulting prepared cost estimates for the design team as well.

    With the initial Andersen estimate, the design phases were completed using a target value design process. This process allows costs to be tracked to the initial estimate, which ensures that the project is designed on budget.

    The design team also worked closely with the hospital’s staff. The team created temporary full-size cardboard mock-ups of the patient rooms in order to finalize design decisions. Actual beds and equipment were rolled into these cardboard mock-ups for the work sessions.

    “The full-scale mock-ups gave the hospital staff the best possible understanding of the proposed room layouts,” said Annette Himelick, an HDR health care designer.

    There was only one option for the location of the new addition that allowed for a seamless expansion of inpatient services. The south side of the existing building contains the emergency department and operating rooms, and with the new addition directly to the south, will serve as the inpatient hub of the hospital campus.

    Historical inspiration

    The project is located in Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, and it’s the first major institutional project to apply the required design guidelines for properties within the reserve since they were adopted in 2011.

    As a result, the new wing is broken into three masses, which are divided by a circulation space that provides connections to the existing hospital. Another design feature is that most of the main floor of the new patient wing cantilevers 7 feet beyond the lower-level base. This design element was inspired by the Alexander Blockhouse, an 1855 defensive structure in Coupeville built by the first settlers of Whidbey Island.

    The project was approved by the Historic Preservation Commission last month.

    The new addition and renovation will serve patients from across the entire island and neighboring counties.


    Phil Duff is vice president and managing principal of the HDR architecture office in Seattle. Duff has more than 27 years of experience on health care and academic projects.





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