By Kyle LoJacono
LUTZ — St. Joseph’s Hospital-North is bringing more than just healing to patients, it is changing the way people look at hospital care.
“I can’t say enough about the new hospital,” said Frank Ferlita, the second patient to be admitted to the hospital. “That goes from top to bottom from the management to the nurses to the kitchen and cleaning crew. I can’t find anything wrong with the hospital.”
Ferlita was hospitalized for eight days for foot surgery resulting from diabetes.
“I’ve had bad experiences with hospitals in the past, but this place is the best I’ve ever seen,” said Ferlita, of Carrollwood. “I’m thrilled to have it here in north Hillsborough and I haven’t been able to stop talking about the place.”
The hospital was built with more than basic medical treatment in mind. Architects used what is called evidence-based design to create a soothing atmosphere.
“What that means is the patient’s comfort and needs were the most important thing during the design and building of the new hospital,” said hospital spokesperson Jacqueline Farruggio. “Everything from the lights overhead to the floor was chosen with the patient in mind.”
Most of the lights in the new hospital face upward and a visor directs the light to the sides of the rooms to keep it out of patients’ eyes while being moved on gurneys.
The type of carpet and wood flooring used reduce noise, which gives patients a more peaceful stay.
“Those are just the most obvious things when you walk in, but everything was designed that way,” Farruggio said. “Each room is a private suite with chairs and a pull-out bed for family members to stay comfortably with a patient before and after their procedure.”
Keeping the family a part of the process is important at St. Joseph’s.
“It’s all about family-centered care,” said Kristi Greene, pre-operations nurse. “The more you keep the whole family involved, the better the outcome for the patient.”
Another element of the hospital’s design is the Healing Garden located outside on the first floor. The garden has fountains, rock formations and plants where people can relax while visiting family or friends.
All patient and operating rooms are at least 100 square feet, giving room for medical staff to work and space for visitors to move around in.
“That’s also part of the evidence-based design,” said Cheryl Brown, night charge nurse. “There’s nothing different for the doctors or staff to have to remember about specific rooms because they are all exactly the same. No surprises here.”
All wires and tubes are hidden from patient view so that the suites looks less like a hospital room and more like a hotel.
The largest rooms are for labor and delivery, which are 418 square feet.
“You need a lot of room to deliver a baby while keeping the mother calm and relaxed,” Brown said. “We can even control the lights with a wand, which I call the ‘magic wand,’ so we have the overhead lights directed right where we need them during delivery.”
The hospital keeps the mother and baby together as much as possible.
“The babies spend a little time in the nursery behind the viewing window,” said Donna Quinones, neonatal nurse. “They’re here for a bath and little things like that. People can see in most of the time, but we can frost over the glass in case a baby needs to have a minor procedure or is sick.”
Quinones said there is a neonatal nurse at the hospital at all times.
“We are very excited to be opening,” said Lisa Patterson, communications manager. “The hospital will give necessary healthcare and a closer location to northwest Hillsborough and southern Pasco counties.”
For more information, call
About St. Joseph’s
- 43,000 patients expect in 2010
- 28,000 emergency room visits in 2010
- 108 private suites
- 500 employees
- 1,000 free parking spaces
- Cost of more than $225 million to build
- (813) 443-7000
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