KDMC preparing to unveil new Intensive Care Unit

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2008

King’s Daughters Medical Center will be hosting an open housetour of its new Intensive Care Unit Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.to familiarize the public with the new, advanced treatment optionsoffered due to the hospital’s expansion.

The new unit is part of a facility-wide expansion and renovationthat KDMC Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover said would bring thecampus up to modern standards. Hoover called the difference betweenthe new ICU and the old one, which was constructed in 1964, a”night and day difference.”

“The new facility is designed for the way that health care iscarried out today,” Hoover said. “Intensive care is not done thesame way it was 25 to 30 years ago. We will be doing the same carein the ICU in the type of environment we’re supposed to do itin.”

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The new ICU is part of an overall $12 million project thatincludes new construction and renovations to existing facilitiesand is expected to completed within the year.

The ICU covers the majority of the newly constructed thirdfloor. It includes the addition 10 new surgical recovery beds andeight intensive care rooms.

ICU Nurse Manager Jaymie Heard, who will be running the new ICU,said the facility and its technology were on the level with anyother hospital in Mississippi.

“The new ICU will provide increased quality and safety for ourpatients,” he said. “We will be able to take care of them in a newgeneration of health care. We’re going above and beyond any otherICU that I’ve ever worked in.”

Heard said the most important quality of the new ICU was thesize of its rooms, which are almost twice the size of the old ICUrooms.

“The more space we have, the more doctors, nurses and equipmentwe can have in the room to treat the patient,” he said. “If we havea code, we need six to eight people and a crash cart in the room.In the old ICU rooms, that’s a tight fit. People are stacked upagainst the wall and there’s no way out – they can’t move if weneed them to go get something.”

The new ICU rooms, with their superior size, also featureseveral new pieces of technology. Each new room is equipped withwall-mounted stations that provide various medical gases, thuseliminating the need to bring tanks and carts into the rooms.

“Now, we will have a state-of-the art ICU where we don’t have tobring in equipment,” Hoover said. “The new equipment is alreadythere.”

Each new room also features a wall-mounted bed locator thatcontains nurse call devices and additional electric outlets.

“In the old ICU, you had to reach across the room to plug inequipment,” Hoover said. “The new bed locators really improvesafety and efficiency.”

Hoover said the bed locators, which cost about $2,000 each, willsoon be placed throughout the hospital.

Several of the new rooms are also equipped with a patient lift,a miniature crane-like machine that lifts patients out of theirbeds and transports them across the room via a ceiling-installedtrack. The lift is not only good for patients who are immobile ortoo weak to walk, but is also a benefit to the nurses.

“Nurses run into a lot of problems straining their backs whilemoving patients around,” Hoover said. “The patient lift should makethe nurses’ jobs a little easier – a lot of people don’t realizehow hard a nurse’s job really is.”

Not all of the ICU’s new features are found in the rooms.

KDMC has adopted the PACS (Picture Archiving CommunicationAystem), which produces digital diagnostic images, such as X-raysand CT scans, that can be accessed from any point in or outside ofthe hospital by a nurse or doctor who logs into the hospital’snetwork. Hard copy film and light boards will no longer be in useat KDMC.

Hoover pointed out that the PACS would allow diagnostic imagesto be quickly accessed and transferred, and could even be burnedonto a blank disc and sent home with a patient, enabling thatpatient to share those records with another doctor.

The new ICU even features aesthetic upgrades, such ascolor-coded floor tiles and wallpaper on each floor, andwindowsills in each room for flowers and plants.

“A lot of people feel intimidated by that usual hospitaldreariness,” Hoover said. “We want our patients to feel comfortablewith their environment here.”