It’s been more than 25 years since a new hospital has opened in the Columbus area. That will change next month when Dublin Methodist Hospital begins to accept patients. The hospital is one of the 53 members of the Pebble Project, a joint research effort between the Center for Health Design a non-profit research and advocacy organization and forward thinking healthcare providers. The concepts incorporated into the hospital include all private patient rooms large enough for patients, families, and caregivers; no restrictions on family visiting hours; pull out sofa beds for guests who stay over night; standard rooms to reduce errors and increase efficiency; interior court yards allowing natural light in nearly 90% of all spaces; open and decentralized work stations to bring caregivers closer to their patients; large waiting areas with comfortable seating and outdoor views and natural materials whenever possible and natural color schemes for paint and furniture.
Roof top gardens will be planted in the spring to allow patients, staff and guests to step away for a moment. Patients are greets in the lobby by a calm, serene waterfall and live trees.
OhioHealth has been planning to build a hospital in Dublin since the late 1980s when it purchased 89 acres along U.S. 33. Now after several years of construction the first patients will be admitted in early January. Registered Nurse Cheryl Herbert is the hospital’s president.
“This community is actually a bit under served in terms of services that are located close to home,” Herbert says. “Dublin Methodist is designed to be a community hospital offering an environment that is less stressful for the patients and their families.”
It’s also designed to help reduce medical errors that occur during treatment. The 325,000SF, $150 million hospital has 32 examination rooms in the ER department which should cut emergency waiting room time. The rooms are arranged to speed up treatment and to reduce costs.
“They are laid out identically to one another so nurses and physicians don’t have to think twice about where to find things in the room,” Herbert says.
It’s the same with the 94 in-patient rooms in the hospital; each is laid out identically to the others. And though each is a private room, it’s large enough to accommodate family members at any time of the day or night.
“There is now overwhelming evidence that single bedded rooms both reduce medical error and help to prevent hospital acquired infections.”
And Herbert says private room patients are more likely to communicate freely with medical staff.
“Patients are actually more likely to communicate more completely with their care givers if they’re in a private room,” Herbert says. “They’re less likely to do so if they think someone they don’t know can overhear what they’re talking to their nurses and physicians about.”
There is also good evidence that when families are allowed to remain with the patient, everyone’s stress is lowered and can lead to faster recovery for the patient. This is why the 60 standard rooms will offer 340SF, and the nine labor and delivery suites, 400SF.
Among the accouterments to be offered in these state of the art patient rooms are roomy showers, flat-screen TVs, Internet connections and large fold out sofas. They are also designed to be “acuity adaptable” which means that they can be changed depending on the patient’s needs. As a result, patients who need intensive care won’t have to be moved.
The rooms have nosie reduction materials in their floors and ceilings, big windows and a standard layout so medical staff will approach the patient from the same angle in every room.
Each patient also has their own patient station. “We have a computer come down from an arm in the ceiling, where patients can access the Internet while in bed,” Herbert said. “They can e-mail, surf the Web, do their patient education and order their meals.
“They can have food when they want it, rather than when we decide they want it,” within their prescribed diet, she said.
More high tech systems include medical records that are kept electronically, a program called e-Prescribing will allow physicians to write and send prescriptions from a handheld device, eliminating the need for patients to take their prescriptions to the pharmacy to be filled, patents can also be monitored, if needed, by eCare Mobile, a mobile, computer-camera device on wheels that allows caregivers in OhioHealth’s eICU to work with doctors and nurses at the patient’s bedside (a tone is sounded before monitoring begins that lets the patient know they are being monitored). Herbert says she expects the extra costs will pay for themselves.
“What we have found out incorporating everything that we have in this building is that our construction costs are 2 percent higher than a more traditional hospital facility would be,” she says. “Those charges do not get passed along to patients. The return on that investment is that we will spend less taking care of patients who otherwise might have acquired an infection or had a medical error.
If Dublin’s population continues its rapid growth, OhioHealth officials say Dublin Methodist can be expanded from 94 to 300 rooms. Additional information about the Dublin Methodist Hospital can be found at OhioHealth.com as well as information on job and volunteer opportunities.