Bob Malte, CEO of EvergreenHealth, had few extra comments scribbled on his notes for opening remarks at the dedication ceremony for the hospital’s $23.6 million Progressive Care Unit last Friday.
There were additional VIPs to mention, and the hospital’s major milestones were underlined. But in black ink, midway through his speech, he noted EvergreenHealth had achieved the honor of being named one of America’s top 100 hospitals for the second year in a row.
He’d only just gotten word, he told the audience, which filled the hallways and spilled into empty nurses stations and storage nooks on the fourth floor of EvergreenHealth’s silver tower.
The honor coincides with the first step in the next phase of EvergreenHealth’s future. The fourth floor, previously one of three unfinished wings included in the 2007 construction, will hold 31 patients in need of a longer stay — an average of three days, in most cases. These patients include certain post-operative patients and those moved down from the critical care unit.
The fifth floor, known as 5 Silver, will house the cardiovascular wing, and is expected to open in a few weeks.
The hospital celebrated with a ribbon ceremony in which representatives from various stakeholder groups from around the hospital stepped forward to tie ribbons to a small potted tree. The tree will be planted on campus, “as a symbol of our growth,” Malte said.
EvergreenHealth will also celebrate its 45th anniversary later this spring, and the technological and design features on the fourth and fifth floors — also 45, Malte pointed out — serve as landmark upgrades.
As many of the patients on 4 Silver will be staying overnight, each room includes a private area with a curtain, power outlets and a pull-out bed. The bathroom doors are semitransparent, meaning nurses will be able to see a shadow of the patient for safety reasons while maintaining privacy.
Each patient’s vitals can be monitored from the nurses station, and the system can alert nurses to problems without a patient needing to call for help. The nurses station also has lower walls and many interior walls are made of glass to allow better line of sight.
Nancee Hofmeister, the Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer, said the wing is a blend of high-tech and high-care, and was designed with the help of nurses on staff. There are details most patients wouldn’t think of, like including a little hand-held light in each bed so nurses can see patients at night without turning on the main light.
“It’s those little tiny things that make a big difference when you’re delivering care,” Hofmeister said. “The rooms have lifts. People are getting heavier, and nurses are getting older. Being able to move a person out of a bed by themselves and not having to go get a second person — and safely. There are a lot of different things that, from a care perspective, will make a big difference for the nurses.”
The design also shifts many of the most-used storage items into smaller storage closets that can be accessed from the hallway and from inside each room, limiting how often nurses need to visit the main storage area.
The wing also includes original artwork and circadian lighting, which can shift along with sunlight to provide a more relaxed, easier-on-the-eyes-and-brain environment for patients and nurses alike.
Design features are a mix of implemented ideas from other hospitals and lessons learned from working on the upper floors of the tower, which have a similar shape but few of the unique aspects. The third floor, according to the 10-year, $450 million EvergreenHealth master plan, will be a critical care wing with new operating rooms on the second floor.
And while the design of the lower floors will be different, efficiency on the fourth and fifth floors will allow the nursing staff to provide better care and move patients into facilities designed for a specific need.
Currently, the hospital is using two overflow faculties to house patients. With the opening of 4 Silver, the current progressive care unit will house only a handful of progressive care patients and an overflow unit can be closed. When the 5 Silver unit is opened, the second overflow unit can be closed.
Even when 5 Silver is open later this spring, EvergreenHealth will still be busy working to complete Phase One of the master plan. The hospital is building out two floors of the DeYoung Pavilion to house a streamlined musculoskeletal and orthopedic center this summer.
EvergreenHealth is also planning to move and enlarge the primary care facility, including the addition of an urgent care facility in Kenmore, and will add a primary care and urgent care facility in Mill Creek.