By B.C. Manion
A thousand tiny details combine to create the three stories, 83 beds and 200,000 square feet that make up Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, and none were too small when it comes to considering patient care and comfort.
The thoughtful planning was apparent on Sept. 7 during a media preview tour of the facility on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard north of SR 56.
“Every detail that we put into designing the facility really had the patient and their healing in mind, and we’re very proud of that,” said Brian Adams, hospital president and CEO.
Adams was joined by director of marketing Tracy Clouser during the tour of the hospital, whose parent company also owns Florida hospitals Zephyrhills and Tampa. They showed off modern technologies that they say will help doctors identify a patient’s potential health risk, allowing intervention at earlier stages and helping to avoid invasive surgeries.
They also pointed out security precautions to keep people safe from medical mix-ups and prevent the possibility of anyone leaving the hospital with a baby that isn’t theirs.
Aesthetics were not overlooked, either.
Clouser said the hospital’s design avoids an institutional look.
Instead of stark white walls and straight corridors, curves, artwork and open views were used to create a different vibe.
Attention to detail shows up throughout the hospital.
For instance, each room has a stool because research has shown patients perceive that healthcare providers have spent more time with them if they sit down when visiting their room, Adams said. When patients have that perception, it can improve communication, which can lead to better care, he added.
Throughout the facility, the hospital has considered not only the comfort of people staying there, but also those who are visiting.
The emergency room, for instance, has a waiting area that offers comfortable furniture for family and friends, a 900-gallon aquarium and an area where children can play video games.
While loved ones relax, patients brought to the emergency department will be taken straight to a room where a doctor, nurse and a hospital registration staffer will work as a team.
The idea is to get the patient in front of a doctor as soon as possible rather than having them sit in a waiting room to fill out paperwork, Clouser said.
Four of the rooms in the emergency department also are equipped with Philips Ambient technology, which allows patients to choose videos to project on the room’s wall and select colors to change the hue of the room.
Glass panels that serve as a railing also demonstrate the thought that went into the design. The panels will require more maintenance, but they preserve the view for people sitting in a nearby waiting area, Adams said.
To avoid the glare of overhead lights shining directly into patients’ eyes as patients are being transported to their rooms, the hospital had the fixtures installed along the edges of the ceilings in corridors near patient rooms.
The hospital is also divided into front and back stage areas. Patients and supplies use rear elevators, which are larger to accommodate stretchers. Visitors use elevators in the front, which are of standard size. This helps respect patient privacy and protect them from infections, Adams said.
The hospital leader, who is quite tall, said it wouldn’t be a good thing to have someone like him towering over a cancer patient in an elevator, especially if, for instance, Adams had the flu.
The hospital is so serious about protecting patients from infections that it has chips embedded in the hand sanitizing areas in each room, which records when care staffers have washed his or her hands and when.
Each room is also equipped with a GetWellNetwork system that allows patients to watch movies or high-definition television, to surf the Internet or play games. It also enables patients to learn more about their medical condition, ask questions or lodge complaints about their care while keeping track of when staffers visit their room.
To help patients recover faster, visitors are welcome 24 hours a day, and each room is outfitted with a sofa sleeper.
The hospital also boasts powerful imaging equipment that will help medical practitioners detect cancer early, has the first hybrid operating suite of its kind in the nation and has an advanced cardiac catheterization lab, Adams said.
The hospital will use electronic medical records, a computerized physician order entry program and a band system to ensure patients receive the proper medication in the correct dose at the right time.
The hospital is also pleased with the quality of the staff it has assembled, including board-certified radiologists and board-certified emergency-room physicians, Adams said.
The community is invited to tour the new hospital from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 16. The event includes hospital tours, games, entertainment, children’s activities, giveaways and a free lunch.
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