Valley Medical Center moves Critical Care Center to South Tower

Valley Medical Center moves Critical Care Center to South Tower
Think of Valley Medical Center’s new Critical Care Center as high-tech and high-touch.
That’s how Bob Chapman, the critical-care nurse manager at the center, describes what most know as the intensive-care unit. But the new CCU is much more and offers the flexibility to serve the changing needs of the hospital’s large service area, Chapman said.
The CCU has moved into the hospital’s new $115-million South Tower. Also new to the seven-story building just off 43rd Avenue Southwest is the hospital’s Joint and Spine Centers of Excellence.
They join the Emergency Department – the emergency room – on the tower’s third floor, which opened in February.
The completion of the tower marks the end of a massive multimillion-dollar expansion at the publicly funded hospital, which included a new Surgery Center that is connected by elevators to the ER and the CCU.
“The footprint of the hospital is now set,” said Scott Alleman, the hospital’s senior vice president for patient-care services.
The Critical Care Unit is on the fourth floor of the South Tower; the joint and spine centers are on the fifth floor. Floors six and seven are vacant and are available for expansion as the need arises.
The CCU’s transfer to the new tower went hours faster than anticipated. The patients required constant monitoring during the move.
What hasn’t changed is what Chapman calls the “great care” that patients received in the former ICU. Now, patients have the benefits of the latest innovations in technology that make the center state-of-the-art.
There’s a “smart bed” that can ask patients some basic medical questions in a number of languages. And it can alert nurses and other staff when a patient is attempting to get out of bed.
Hand-held phones connect everyone and even monitor an electrocardiogram that provides a detailed look at a heart’s function. Each of the center’s 30 rooms is universal, in that it is equipped to handle different types of care. The care comes to the patient, rather than moving a patient to another area for care.
Each room has a patient lift capable of lifting 1,000 pounds, which is part of the center’s priority to keep staff safe and injury-free, Chapman said.
That’s part of the “high-tech” CCU that Chapman describes.
Chapman’s “high touch” comes with the care staff provide. But a patient’s family also provides some of that personal touch, too. Family members are allowed in a patient’s room at all times. A loved one, Chapman said, is important to the healing process.
The 25,000-square-foot center has a family waiting area that contains a family lounge, kitchenette and consultation room. Nursing stations are located between every two rooms. Different clinicians can consult at a Clinical Integration Center.
By design, the center is quieter, which is good for staff and patients, said Alleman, the vice president. “You absorb angst from other patients,” he said.
The new center, Chapman said, offers the flexibility to “meet the needs of the community today, tomorrow and in the future.” So far, the average daily census is 12 patients, he said.
The previous intensive-care unit had 16 beds.
The new joint and spine centers are combined for the first time on the South Tower’s fifth floor. Patients will recover from joint or spine surgery in one of 30 private rooms. The floor includes space for education, surgical preparation, and recovery and rehabilitation, plus a physical therapy room. The capacity was exceeding in the previous centers, Alleman said.
A conference room with state-of-the-art, audio-visual equipment offers joint and spine education seminars.
Business is already growing at the new emergency room.
Patient load is up 10 to 15 patients a day, or from roughly 190 or 195 to about 205, said Alleman. Also, down is the number of people who saw a crowded waiting room and left, called “left without treatment.”

Photo caption: Bob Chapman, critical-care nurse manager for Valley Medical Center’s Critical Care Center, says the center will meet the community’s needs for years. He’s in a patient room, equipped with a lift capable of lifting up to 1,000 pounds.
Photo credit: Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter

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