Newswise — This January, the public will get a first look at UMass Memorial Medical Center's dramatic 264,000-square-foot expansion on the University Campus, seeing for the first time a new emergency department and other patient care areas that will transform the delivery of health care in Central Massachusetts. The Lakeside Wing, centered on creating the region's most advanced new emergency department, more than triples the current space devoted to emergency services, significantly enhancing the hospital's capacity to provide care to patients. Scheduled to open for use in February, the project also includes the addition of ten new surgical suites and intensive care beds, as well as an update of radiology services.
Celebratory events will include a formal preview and dedication of the Duddie Massad Emergency and Trauma Center on January 6 at 11 a.m. In addition, a child-friendly open house slated for January 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. will offer friends and families from the community the opportunity to visit the Lakeside Wing, tour the facility and learn about the many services offered at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
"The Lakeside Wing represents the successful culmination of years of planning and construction. With the completion of this project, our facilities now reflect the level of world-class care our skilled staff provides for the people of Central New England," said John G. O'Brien, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care. "We recognize that most people don't actually like to go to the hospital, particularly for an emergency illness or injury, but we think this new space will demonstrate to the community our commitment to delivering the highest quality care in the most technologically advanced setting."
The $129 million Lakeside Wing project was envisioned as an aggressive response to the exponential growth in the demand for emergency services in Central New England in recent years. UMass Memorial currently sees more than 75,000 emergency visits per year, all in a space built in 1970 to accommodate up to 2,000 patients a year. Home to the region's highest level trauma unit and Life Flight, the region's only air ambulance, UMass Memorial's emergency department serves the most critically injured patients who require the most up-to-date life-saving medical technology and equipment. (UMass Memorial was recently certified by the American College of Surgeons as a designated Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center, a dual accreditation verifying that the hospital provides the most advanced specialized care for the most gravely injured patients.)
To meet the burgeoning health care needs of the public, the Lakeside Wing features:
"¢ Addition of 264,000 square feet of clinical care space, including 66 treatment rooms, 10 new operating rooms (plus two older ORs to be renovated)and 16 new intensive care unit beds to care for patients after cardiac surgery
"¢ Reconfiguration of patient care areas for easier access
"¢ New emergency diagnostic capabilities, including an on-site 64-slice CT scanner
"¢ On-site laboratory capabilities for quicker testing and diagnosis
"¢ Expansion of pediatric emergency care, with separate registration, waiting and child-friendly treatment areas
"¢ Expansion of emergency mental health services space
"¢ Reconfiguration of ambulance and Life Flight access, including a new helipad
"¢ Reconfiguration of entrances, parking and walkways, facilitating easier access
"¢ Addition of wireless communication technology throughout the emergency services area
Smart architecture by design
A primary goal in the construction of the Lakeside Wing was to create a facility that was designed for smooth and responsive care that maximizes efficiency. An intuitive architectural plan, the culmination of an intensive two-year process involving a specialized team of health care architects from Canon Design of Boston, and user groups of physicians, nurses, administrators and support staff, has resulted in space that more than meets these needs, according to Wendy E. Warring, executive vice president of UMass Memorial Health Care. "The patient experience and patient flow was central to the design; our goal was to make the operations and surroundings of the emergency department pleasant and soothing for patients and families," she explained.
One key design highlight of the emergency department in the Lakeside Wing is the distinct separation of pediatric and adult treatment areas with separate waiting areas. "It was important that our smallest emergency patients—children—and their families have an area that promotes calm and healing, and reduces their anxiety," noted Mariann M. Manno, MD, director of pediatric emergency medicine at UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center. Each year more than 28,000 children are cared for in the emergency department.
The configuration of the new ED also features 66 private, enclosed treatment rooms with sliding glass doors to create a more comfortable, private experience for patients and their families. An expanded and secure emergency mental health service unit features separate pediatric and adult waiting areas, providing immediate access and confidential treatment to all patients with emergent psychiatric needs.
Well beyond emergency care
In addition to the emergency department, the Lakeside Wing also incorporates advanced surgical support services, including ten new operating rooms (ORs), a new 16-bed Intensive Care Unit and pre- and postoperative care stations.
At 700 square feet each, the new operating suites are a significant increase over current ORs that average 300 to 400 square feet. The greater size allows for additional equipment and staff for more complex procedures and accommodates academic activities. Several ORs will be dedicated to trauma, orthopedic and cardiac surgery, areas in which UMass Memorial is a recognized Center for Excellence. To enhance patient safety, the ORs feature ceiling air diffusers, which use air circulation to keep the area around the patient clean and to move the air away from the patient to the exhaust system on the perimeter of the room.
Highlights of the Intensive Care Unit will include a separate unit to treat burn patients, nurses' control stations, a dedicated pharmacy and educational space for staff. The Center for Patients and Families, a large waiting area, will accommodate visitors while their family members are undergoing surgery. Private space will be available for consultations with the surgical staff.
Technology improvements to the ICU include Vocera, a wireless communication tool that keeps staff continually connected to one another. In addition, a new picture archiving and communication system (PACS) provides digital radiology images on monitors at the patient's bedside, eliminating the wait for radiology films. Images can also be accessed by off-site radiologists for consultation on diagnosis.
Another new system, VISICU, also known as telemedicine, allows remote monitoring of patients. All of the patient's vitals and information are sent to a computer hub for 24/7 monitoring by an intensivist. If a patient starts to show signs of distress, the intensivist can immediately work with the ICU nurses to improve the patient's status. This technology has been shown to reduce mortality rates by 25 percent.
The realization of the Lakeside Wing was made possible by the benefice of a number of individuals and corporations from across the Commonwealth who donated generously to the $40 million Emergency Care Campaign. "The people of Central New England are fortunate to have an emergency and trauma center of this caliber to turn to in a time of need," said Barbara R. Greenberg, chair of the UMass Memorial Foundation. "We have been impressed by the philanthropic generosity of countless individuals and organizations who have given to the campaign and we hope the entire community will make it a priority to support the campaign, just as UMass Memorial has made caring for the community its major priority."
UMass Memorial Health Care is central Massachusetts' largest not-for-profit health care delivery system, with 1,700 physicians and over 10,000 employees. Its comprehensive network of care includes teaching hospitals, affiliated community hospitals, freestanding primary care practices, ambulatory outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospice programs, a rehabilitation group and mental health services. UMass Memorial Medical Center is a three-campus acute care hospital comprised of the University, Memorial, and Hahnemann campuses. For additional information, go to www.umassmemorial.org. UMass Memorial Health Care is the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, http://www.umassmed.edu.