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Last updated: Tue. Feb. 21, 2012 - 03:04 pm EDT

The new Parkview

Regional medical center becomes center of latest-technology services

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Operation Transplant

A look at the new Parkview by WANE, Newschannel 15: http://www.wane.com/dpp/health/operation-transplant-parkviews-move-north

Features of Parkview Regional Medical Center

* 446 beds in private rooms

* Specialty centers for heart, neurosciences and orthopedics

* Helipad for Samaritan helicopter

* Full-service 24/7 ER with board-certified emergency physicians

* Critical care and surgery with improved patient flow areas for patients, families and medical staff

* Verified Level II Adult and Pediatric Trauma Centers

* Conference and education space

* Physicians' office buildings

* Ample room for future expansion

* Ronald McDonald House for families of hospitalized children

Source: Parkview Health

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This is the first of two stories on Parkview Regional Medical Center and Parkview Hospital at Randallia.

Next month, nine years after planning began for the new Parkview Regional Medical Center, the hospital and its staff will begin taking care of patients. Just as Parkview Regional is changing the look of the northern side of Fort Wayne, Parkview Health executives say the new facility will change the style and performance of patient care, too.

On first impression, Parkview Regional, near the intersection of Interstate 69 and Dupont Road, may strike visitors as a beautiful hotel, with a two-story atrium, water flowing over rocks and a cafeteria poised to appear more like a casual restaurant. It will even be quieter than a typical hospital has been in the past, with careful attention devoted to finding sound-deadening materials in construction and finishing. Mark Hisey, vice president of construction, noted that designers even took pains in choosing the wavelengths of light to illuminate the building. One unusual manifestation of this attention to detail are the curved wall surfaces in some hallways, an effort to create a warmer, softer atmosphere.

”It gets back to one of our guiding principles – hospitality,” said Judy Boerger, chief nursing executive of Parkview Health. “We want people to feel welcome. We want people to feel warmth. I think you feel that way that when you get to your house, and we want people to feel that way when you come to the hospital, that you're safe and we're going to take good care of you.”

The most obvious change in patient care will be single rooms. At Parkview Regional and Parkview Randallia, every room will be a private room. At both hospitals, this ought to improve patient comfort -- by providing them with greater privacy -- and make it easier for family members or close friends to play more effective roles in helping patients.

“The family's participation in the care of that loved one is really important,” said Sue Ehinger, chief operating officer of Parkview Hospital, “and when you have two different folks in that room, it is hard for the family to be there and question, whether it's the physician or the nurse, and participate in that care at the level we would like them to.”

“Judy (Boerger) and her team have really tried to construct that room so it's very conducive to that family wanting to be there, so they have the electronics, so they can bring their computer in if they want to work from home,” Ehinger said.

Building an entire hospital from the ground up has provided Parkview staff with an unmatched opportunity to incorporate the best advances they can find. Those changes are as fundamental as the beds.

“For turning and positioning, we actually have a turn-assist on the mattresses,” Boerger said. That turn-assist feature tilts first one side of the bed, then the other, so that nurses and other staff turning patients -- especially hard-to-manage heavy patients -- can do so with less exertion and risk of injury.

“The mattresses themselves are a therapeutic mattress, so they have a different fabric on them underneath the covers,” Boerger said. They can float patients on thin layers of air, keep patients' skin dry and help avoid bed sores.

The beds also can be lowered nearly to the floor, Boerger said. “The beds will go down within 8 inches of the floor. When you put the bed that low, it helps to keep the patient in the bed, and if they do decide to get out of the bed, they don't have very far to fall,” she said.

Boerger and teams of Parkview staff spent more than 18 months designing the configuration of rooms and planning how they would be equipped. The results, Parkview officials say, take advantage of technology to give health-care workers more time with patients and improve patient experiences.

Private rooms will eliminate some occasions when patients would otherwise have to be moved -- when rooms had to be shared by patients of the same gender, for example. Electronically updating patient orders and charts at the bedside will reduce paperwork time spent at nurses' stations and reduce the likelihood of errors.

“There are lots of things we put at the bedside – computers, for one thing,” Boerger said. “Today they're outside the room, in the hallway. They're going to be in the rooms. Having access to the medical record at the point of care and close by that patient is going to save steps.”

Another change likely to make an impression on visitors and patients: All meals will be cooked to order. Patients will order from a menu, and meals will be delivered by “tugs,” programmable carts that find their way to floors and wings without being pushed along by an employee.

The construction of Parkview Regional cost more than $500 million and produced a facility of more than 900,000 square feet. It's not likely to be the last construction in the area.

Fort Wayne City Councilman Russ Jehl represents the 2nd District, which encompasses Parkview Randallia and extends to the edge of Parkview Regional. His day job is being a real-estate broker for NAI Harding Dahm. He sees Parkview's development of its north campus as a tremendous catalyst for construction and commerce in the vicinity. Obviously it will be a draw for health-care businesses, but the appeal doesn't stop there.

“There's synergy for all kinds of business there,” Jehl said. He's confident that construction of the Hampton Inn, 3520 E. Dupont Road, was strongly influenced by the prospect of the large hospital opening nearby. “I've had calls for everything from a coffee shop to a yoga studio trying to locate there,” he said.

Opening Parkview Regional will increase Parkview Health's total Allen County employment, too. Hospital officials say employment here will increase from about 4,200 now to about 4,450 after Parkview Regional opens.

In the long run, the bigger impact will be from the construction of the Interstate 69 interchange at Union Chapel and the improvement of the Dupont Road exit from I-69. Parkview contributed $10 million to the Union Chapel project; the low bid on construction, recently awarded, was $13.9 million. The exact construction schedule has not been set. Indiana Department of Transportation officials say that the Dupont Road interchange improvements are scheduled for 2014.

Jehl said that opening another point of access to the interstate will make housing developments north of Union Chapel Road much more attractive to investors and prospective residents alike.

Parkview itself owns a tremendous amount of undeveloped land between Dupont and Union Chapel road, between the interstate and Diebold Road. It is constantly tweaking a master plan that outlines development over not years but decades.

“We have identified three separate zones,” said Hisey, the construction vice president. “The area along Dupont Road where Manchester College is building its school of pharmacy is identified as the administrative, research and education portion of the campus. The center part -- where Parkview Regional Medical Center, Parkview Women's and Children's, the cancer center, the ortho hospital are – that's the medical part of it. Then the northern part of it, on up to Union Chapel, is identified as more research, community focus and research, but pretty much community.”

Hisey said Parkview executives imagine a community garden on part of the north campus, and a network of trails is planned for the property, too.

“The planned intersection at Union Chapel and I-69 will include a trail that goes across I-69, as well as the revision of the Dupont Road and I-69 interchange. … Over time – it may take us 10 or 15 years – we'll have a system of trails over that entire campus.”

Ehinger says the way Parkview is using its 400 acres reflects a change in thinking it is trying to nudge along in the community.

“A lot of people say, ‘That's the hospital.' We're really trying to get people to think of it differently. It's a campus that you go to for your family. That's why the park is there; it's a great place for your family. Mentally, physically and spiritually, that's great. The walking paths we have, the trails, you come to that campus, not because you're sick, but because you want to walk or the scenery or you want to come into the facility and look at the artwork, because your art is displayed or your grandchildren's art is displayed.

“Or you want to come in for massage therapy. Or you're coming in for a support group. We want you to come in because this is a campus of health and wellness. We're there to provide care when you are sick, but we're there to provide resources to keep you healthy. That's really important. That's why we've built the campus the way we have. A lot of the features – the water, the courtyards. That environment, the tranquility … even the chapel will be someplace where you can come and reflect.”

bcaylor@news-sentinel.com


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