Special Reports

February 28, 2013

Two Via Christi hospitals changing to all-private rooms

When it comes to modern hospital stays, privacy matters.

When it comes to modern hospital stays, privacy matters.

That’s why Via Christi Health has embarked on a multimillion dollar renovation plan to have all-private rooms at Via Christi Hospital on East Harry and Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in 2017, said Art Huber, vice president of facilities with Via Christi Health.

Its newer Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa opened in August 2010 with private patient rooms.

Wesley Medical Center has had private patient rooms since 2009, according to a Wesley spokeswoman.

Private rooms are becoming the standard of health care, with studies showing they make for happier, healthier patients. Studies have shown private rooms mean less exposure to hospital-borne infections, higher patient satisfaction scores on surveys, and better sleep, which is a major factor in patient recovery.

At Via Christi, Huber said, renovations will incorporate several well-studied principles from where to place nurse, charting and supply stations for efficient work flow to what paint colors and artwork provide the best soothing, healing environment. Noise-reducing tile and carpeted hallways will be installed for a quieter environment.

Planners have spread out the project over the next few years, in part because the renovations are happening in established hospitals. Via Christi has budgeted $20 million per year for the hospital improvements.

“We’re trying to create this within something that exists,” Huber said, noting Via Christi already made a successful transition to a more efficient, private room unit with its 40-bed Cancer Institute, located on the seventh floor of its hospital on St. Francis. The unit opened in mid-2011.

When cancer services moved into the new Cancer Institute, Via Christi used a vacated oncology unit to set up a prototype unit. It is bringing in medical staff and even former patients serving on its performance improvement team to help redesign future units. The 3-D concept makes it easier to determine how to customize other units, Huber said.

Via Christi is making way for the new private rooms without reducing capacity at its hospitals by moving non-clinical and other support services, such as business offices, to non-hospital sites, such as its corporate location at 8200 E. Thorn, in northeast Wichita, Huber said.

“We had several inpatient rooms that we had converted in the past to support and services,” Huber said. “Now we’re converting them back.”

Huber along with other Via Christi officials will soon visit with officials and patients at five facilities that underwent similar renovations, including two in Pennsylvania and the Salina Regional Health Center.

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