New critical care unit to open at Providence

Expansion: Area businesses, employees helped pay for hospital’s $12 million project

rboone@theolympian.comOctober 10, 2012 

Providence St. Peter Hospital is set to unveil a new critical care unit, a nearly $12 million project that took five years of planning and a year of construction.

The new unit opens Monday on the second floor of the hospital’s 12-story tower, the centerpiece of the Providence campus on Lilly Road.

The existing critical care unit, which is on the first floor, eventually will have eight beds, down from 24. The new unit on the second floor expands it with another 21 beds.

The new, 21,200-square-foot area of the hospital was designed with efficiency in mind, everything from mobile equipment that can be easily accessed by nurses and doctors to voice-recognition software so doctors can leave notes and instructions about patients.

Each room is about 50 percent larger than the rooms in the older unit, said Paul Wilkinson, chief operating officer of the hospital.

The rooms have family areas and accessible bathrooms with showers so large a bed can be rolled into them.

Equipment also can be easily moved around the patient beds, including mobile computer stations with patient information and overhead booms that act as power sources for a variety of equipment. Two of the rooms are fitted with equipment to help lift heavier patients, and those same two rooms have a “reverse air” feature to prevent the spread of disease, such as tuberculosis.

Severe stroke, heart surgery, cardiac arrest, hypothermia, sepsis, respiratory failure and renal failure are some of the medical conditions that would be addressed in the new unit, said Tamara Timmons-Sandquist, clinical nurse manager of the new unit.

More than 2,000 patients received care in the critical care unit last year, including 421 transferred from other hospitals, according to Providence data.

“The more we can provide locally is great for our community,” said Ken Anderson, a member of the Providence St. Peter Hospital Foundation board.

Money for the critical care unit was raised from more than 600 donors, including more than 100 employees.

The hospital foundation contributed $1.25 million, and organizations sponsored each of the new rooms, investing $40,000 per suite, Wilkinson said.

Nearly half of the 21 rooms were sponsored by local medical groups, as well as companies such as Heritage Bank, Olympia Federal Savings and Olympia Sheet Metal.

“They saw the importance of this,” he said.

Other features of the new unit include a locker room for 100 nurses, which is expected to grow to 110; a sleeping room for the doctor on call; and a consultation room for doctors and patients. And the new unit overlooks two new gardens.

Although the locker room can accommodate 100 nurses, about 50 to 60 nurses, doctors and other staff will work in the unit during a 24-hour period, Timmons-Sandquist said.

If you go

Providence plans an open house for its new critical care unit from 2-5:30 p.m. Friday. The unit is on the second floor of the hospital at 413 Lilly Road NE. 360-754-5403

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