Details Make a Beautiful New “Neighborhood”

Patients should feel right at home in this new neighborhood.

Details Make a Beautiful NeighborhoodIn Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s new Northwest Pavilion, a comfortable, more intimate patient care facility has been created.One hundred and eight additional private patient rooms will be grouped into nine new “nursing neighborhoods.”

“We realized with this expansion that we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redesign the patients’ rooms and nursing stations,” said Richard Hader, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer.“With the new design, the patients’ and families needs come first.”

From each nursing neighborhood, the medical team will be able to directly monitor 12 private patient rooms.The patients’ room design combines concern for safety with need for privacy – all rooms will have a door, but each door has a glass panel insert.

“The nurses will have a direct view into each patient’s room right from the nursing station,” said JoAnn Watson, R.N., nurse manager.“The new neighborhood puts the caregivers in closer proximity to the patients.”

Each nursing station is self-contained.Each has their own set of equipment, such as EKG and dialysis machines.A special lift in each room will enable nurses to help patients out of bed with less back strain.“This will make us so much more efficient.We won’t have to go running to another part of the floor to get a piece of equipment we need,” Watson said.

Each neighborhood has a theme – water, sky, and garden – in keeping with the themes of the Jersey Shore and the Garden State.Floors are carpeted to cut down on noise – a frequent patient compliant.

Patient rooms are designed to have three zones – the high-ceilinged family area, near the windows; the patient area, in the middle of the room; and the caregivers’ area, closest to the door.

Every attempt was made so that the patient rooms would have a more home-like atmosphere.“Each room has a pull-out couch so if a family member wants to stay with a loved one, they can – in fact they are encouraged to stay,” Hader said.“We want to stress the patient and his or her family are all part of the team approach to getting them better.”

The expansion offered the opportunity to be meticulous about detail, about the little things that often make a big difference to patients – from the placement of a bed, to how many steps to the bathroom, to the position of the bathroom mirrors, Hader said. Most of the patients on one of the new floors will be post-op heart patients.“They all have incisions that they will need to learn how to take care of, so the position of the mirrors in the bathrooms becomes very important.They have to be able to easily see the incision,” Hader said.

Another detail that received a lot of though was where the bathroom was placed in the patient’s room.Most hospitals either have the bathroom near the entrance door, or near the window.Hader said a choice was made to move the bathroom closer to the middle of the room, so that it does not cut down on window space.“Putting it there actually lengthened the building and was an additional cost, but we thought it was too important to ensure that all the rooms receive natural light,” Hader said.

Input from nurses, doctors, patient assistants, and other staff was critical to developing the new rooms.Watson – who is celebrating her 45th year nursing at Jersey Shore and remembers when it was called Fitkin Hospital – was part of a support team that traveled to Texas to study how other hospitals constructed their nursing stations.

The new neighborhood even had a trial run when it was still in the design phase.A mock-up of a nursing neighborhood was created in a near-by empty food store.Nurses, staff and community members came through the mock-up and made suggestions.“We got a very detailed critique, and a lot of the suggestions were incorporated into the new rooms,” Hader said.

In addition to the 108-bed floor, the new Northwest Pavilion will have an additional 36-bed “shell” for future capacity needs.With an eye to the future, Hader said floors could be added to the pavilion for even more bed capacity.

“The building will be here long after most of us are gone.We had to make sure we did this right,” Hader said.