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St. Joseph renovations make room for private patient rooms

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, at 4:27 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, at 9:58 a.m.

Via Christi St. Joseph recently finished renovations to its ambulatory care unit, which was moved to the lower level from the seventh floor to make way for new private patient rooms.

The hospital also moved its pre-operative and post-operative recovery units to the lower level of the hospital and renovated those spaces.

Via Christi plans to spend about $20 million to $25 million each year until 2017 for its Wichita hospitals to turn all patient rooms into private rooms, said Art Huber, senior administrator of facilities at Via Christi Health.

Officials aren’t yet sure whether the private patient rooms on the seventh floor will be used for surgical patients or behavioral health, Huber said, and the renovation of that floor likely won’t start until late summer 2014.

Huber says Via Christi hopes that moving to all private patient rooms will help the hospitals provide better, safer care.

“There is a lot of evidence for why you want private rooms, from infection control to a quiet environment for patients to sleep so they can heal faster,” Huber said.

Nurses and physicians helped design the patient flow in the new units on the lower level, said Annette Heilman, manager of the ambulatory care, pre-operative and recovery units at St. Joseph.

The remodeled lower level also has a new waiting room for patients’ families that includes monitors that provide patient information to families by using numbers that correspond to specific patients. The numbers are color-coded for every stage of surgery so that families can know what stage of the procedure their relative is in and not worry as much, Heilman said.

There are also two “quiet rooms” for families to speak with physicians privately after a surgery. The new ambulatory care unit has 26 private patient bays.

At St. Francis hospital, construction will likely start in March on the southwest part of the hospital’s eighth floor, which will have about 22 private medical-surgical patient rooms, Huber said.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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