When you think of quality care, the first thing you think of is likely the talented and kind caregivers. While these men and women are truly at the heart of health care, there are many other factors that can play a large role in quality of care, and one big factor is environment.
With the support of local voters, WhidbeyHealth Medical Center in Coupeville recently opened a new two-story, 60-000-square-foot addition that will improve patient care in numerous direct and indirect ways. It includes 39 new individual patient rooms (which has been shown to reduce infection rates and increase patient privacy and rest), an innovative heating and cooling system, infection control features and more.
In all, the new wing makes for a more healing environment, WhidbeyHealth CEO Geri Forbes says. When it comes to infection control, the new unit will feature smooth, non-porous and easily cleanable walls and floors, more hands-free sinks, and more airborne isolation rooms. Expectant mothers also benefit from larger delivery suites and soaking tubs that massage with airflow jets, helping to induce labor.
Staff is equipped to better to care for patients as well with the addition of motorized lifts over beds to more easily transport patients, and the exchange of a centralized nursing station for smaller, individual stations outside every other patient room. Elsewhere, the decentralized model has been found to more than double the amount of time caregivers are able to spend with their patients.
The floor also includes a variable circadian lighting system, which improves patient care by helping establish more regular sleep cycles. The floor’s north-facing rooms overlook the medical center’s calming gardens while those that face south overlook Ebey’s Landing Natural Historic Reserve, with open agricultural fields and water views. The project was done in partnership with HDR Architecture and Anderson Construction.
Additionally, the medical center is able to use the bond to remodel existing rooms into pre- and post-operative areas, expand the parking lot and add a new exit to discharge patients.
“In the past 50 years, inpatient care has made enormous strides in treatments, quality, technology, equipment, infection control, safety and privacy,” Geri says. “The new wing will reflect these advances.” (Tim Pfarr)