Middlesex Hospital opened the doors to the renovation of a 14,750-square-foot nursing unit this past January designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM). SLAM has worked closely with Middlesex Healthcare System for over 20 years in the planning and design of a multitude of projects on their main hospital campus in Middletown, CT as well as off-site locations. The recently completed North Building sixth floor renovation is part of an initiative across all patient bed floors to enhance patient satisfaction and staff efficiencies. This unit includes 24 beds with 17 private rooms, three semi-privates, and one isolation room. As part of the on-going effort directed toward the North building of the Hospital campus, the fifth floor was completed in 2008 and construction is already underway on the fourth floor which is expected to open in September of 2016.
“The guiding principle throughout the design process was to improve staff’s visibility of patients due to the high level of observation required for the geriatric population that will be located on this floor”, says Steven Doherty, AIA, ACHE, SLAM Design Principal. A comprehensive planning study determined the optimal location for a satellite nurse station with the ability to view multiple patient beds while working around existing building infrastructure. As a result, the design includes nurse work alcoves with observation windows looking directly into the patient rooms along with cameras in select rooms.
A custom signage panel at each patient room entry and headwall was designed in collaboration with staff to include information vital to patient care. The system was created to foster team communication and collaboration ensuring that every staff member interacting with the patient knows the patient’s care history and that every visitor is reminded to stop and see staff before entering the room. The panels communicate room identification, patient information, and infectious disease notifications. As a pilot effort, this signage system is intended to be tested on the sixth floor and potentially developed into a standard across all patient floors.
The complexity of the renovation including relocating and enlarging the private toilet rooms from the corridor wall to the exterior wall which increased the visibility of the patients at the room entry. This reconfiguration allows staff to restock clean linen, supplies, medications, and empty the hamper, all within the new supply cabinet accessed from both the patient room and corridor maximizing patient privacy and minimizing disruptions. Additional room features include ceiling mounted lifts, dedicated family space and a location for staff documentation directed toward the patient for constant communication. In keeping with previous renovations and the campus master plan for finishes, durable wood-tone flooring, neutral colors, abundant lighting and flat-panel televisions were chosen to create a home-like setting for patients and visitors.