November 10, 2011

Critical Care Tower’s next phase takes shape

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The next phase of construction on Vanderbilt’s Critical Care Tower is getting under way. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Critical Care Tower’s next phase takes shape

The next phase of construction on Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Critical Care Tower is under way, as a new waiting area and two patient floors are prepared for occupancy.

The Critical Care Tower first opened in November 2009 with 12 new operating rooms and 102 beds on three patient floors — the Medical, Neurological and Surgical intensive care units.

Four floors were shelled for future growth, and construction has now resumed on three of them. The remaining floor, earmarked for Cardiology, will be completed at a later date.

Floor 7 will soon house patient rooms for transplant, general and bariatric surgery. Occupancy is slated for May 2012.

Floor 10 will become a new myelosuppression unit and will be completed in October 2012.

Both floors will have 34 beds.

These new patient floors will have the same layout and finishes as the existing units in the Critical Care Tower, with a few improvements. After the first units moved in, the team from Space and Facilities Planning held “Lessons Learned” sessions to ask stakeholders what they would change.

Suggestions included a heartier floor covering, improved sliding doors to patient rooms and changing power outlet locations.

“Rather than just move ahead quickly and blindly, we’ve been able to evaluate and make sure that we’re doing the right thing at the right time with minimal disruption,” said architect Jim Tenpenny.

On the second floor, construction will start on a new surgery waiting area, which will open onto the hallway that runs by the Courtyard Café. It will be completed in summer 2012.

“We’re working with our Patient and Family Council to make sure we have a quiet waiting area that serves their needs,” said Charlotte Chaney, associate hospital director.

“We want it be as comforting as possible. There is a private consultation area with a side entrance for physicians, and a Guest Services desk. Families will be given pagers if they want to go to the cafeteria.”

To meet the demands of additional patient beds, ancillary services will also grow. Medical Records will move from the Vanderbilt University Hospital basement to an offsite location, allowing for expansion for Clinical Engineering, Dietary, Laboratory, Perioperative Services, Pharmacy, Radiology and Supply Chain services.

The elevators located outside the Courtyard Café, which currently go only to the fourth floor of The Vanderbilt Clinic, will be expanded to serve floors 5-10 of the Critical Care Tower.

“We’re keeping in mind what our patients and our families need from us to have a good patient family experience. We’re tying to build that into every single aspect of what we do,” Chaney said.

“We want a comforting environment that is patient-centered, state of the art, and a good place for our staff to work so that they can come here every day and provide the best care possible.”