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Published on March 13, 2006

Mock Rooms Provide Sneak Preview of New Hospital Features

January 13, 2006

KCH is taking a unique approach to making sure design and clinical features of the new hospital are appropriate and accurate.

Seven mock rooms have been built in a warehouse in Sycamore, allowing features to be tested, and if necessary, corrected before investing millions of dollars in the final product.

The mock rooms are actual size and include a birthing suite for labor, delivery, recovery and post partum care; Med/Surg patient room, Critical Care Unit room, endoscopy procedure room, operating room, Emergency Department trauma room, and an Emergency Department exam room.

Brad Copple, KCH administrator and project executive, said building mock rooms is becoming more common in the industry because of the high cost and technical nature of hospital construction. “Our project consultant, AMDC of Chicago, which has been involved in many hospital projects, strongly recommended it,” Copple said
The cost of building the mock rooms was considered and included in the $102 million project cost and amounts to a fraction of that total. In addition, vendors have supplied medical equipment at no cost, including some procedure and exam lighting.

“I can’t imagine doing a project of this magnitude without this approach. It pays off in so many ways,” Copple said.

Physicians and clinical staff have visited the mock rooms to identify things they like and have made suggestions for improvements, especially from an operational, functional and aesthetic standpoint. About 200 design issues have been identified and resolved, ranging from better placement of light switches and outlets, to smaller observation windows in the nursing alcoves, to new carpeting and interior design color changes.

“The changes we have already made in terms of operational functionality and interior design have provided a huge return on this relatively small investment,” Copple said.
In addition, staff will train in the rooms over the next two years, until construction of the new hospital is complete.

An important advantage of building a hospital today is the ability to incorporate industry standards for improving infection control and patient comfort.
“What we know about infection control today is light years ahead of what was the standard 30 years ago when KCH was built,” said David Proulx, Director of Engineering, Security and Biomedical Services.

Patient rooms will be regulated automatically for optimum temperature and humidity with an alarm system if conditions change.

“We now know each medical condition has optimum temperature and humidity levels that facilitate healing. By allowing the body to focus on getting well rather than trying to regulate its temperature, all the body’s strength can be focused on healing,” Proulx said.

”There also are optimum humidity levels for every type of surgical procedure, which we’ll be able to control for each operating room.”

The flow of air also is important for infection control.

”In most cases we want to push clean air over the patient and out the door. When a patient requires isolation because of an infectious disease, we reverse the flow of air so it exits the room to the outside of the building.”

Pamela Duffy, Vice President of Patient Care, said, “We also know today that the best way to prevent the spread of germs is frequent hand washing. Because of that, every patient room will have a staff and visitor hand washing sink.

Other room features to improve comfort, functionality, safety and patient care are described below.

Birthing suite bathrooms will be larger and will feature a sitting ledge in the shower, so the laboring mom can use a hand-held, pulsating shower head. The flooring is wood laminate for easy cleaning, there is sink for bathing the baby, and the windows to the outside are large.

Nursing stations are a thing of the past. Instead, nursing alcoves between every two rooms will keep nurses close at hand. Observation windows, which allow nurses to also monitor patients visually, are configured to also preserve patient privacy.
The patient rooms will be all private and will be furnished with a refrigerator, day bed and a reclining chair to better accommodate families.

In the Med/Surg rooms, single bathroom/shower areas are large enough to accommodate wheelchairs. For patient safety, non-slip tile floor slopes down to drain the water.

The Critical Care rooms have large glass doors for observation. The doors also break away quickly, so lifesaving equipment can be easily rushed in case of an emergency. Nursing alcoves also will be placed between every two rooms
In the surgical area, scrubbing stations will be located outside each operating room.Each room also will have observation windows, nurses work station, blanket warmer, and storage.

The surgical area also is designed with an inner core for easy access to and safe storage of instruments and equipment.

Organizations or individuals interested in a presentation on the new hospital project and/or a tour of the mock rooms, should contact Renee Simons in the Kishwaukee Health Foundation office at 815.748.8902.

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