Lutheran Announces Plans to Add Fifth Floor

$42.3 million project latest step in transition to all private patient rooms

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (May 4, 2010) — Lutheran Hospital officials announced plans today to add a fifth floor as part of an ongoing facility transformation that has seen the addition of new private rooms, renovated units and expanded parking, resulting in greater comfort and convenience for patients and guests.

The 58,649-square-foot project is scheduled to take approximately 19 months to complete at a cost of $42.3 million. Plans call for public and patient access to the hospital to be virtually unchanged during construction.

When finished, the addition of 96 private patient rooms on the newly constructed fifth floor will allow Lutheran to accelerate its conversion of existing rooms from semi-private to private. The greatest need that will be met with the fifth floor project will be the addition of 72 telemetry beds for the monitoring of cardiac patients and 24 intensive care beds. More computer workstations for caregivers will also be added.

Several units will be reconfigured to allow for enhanced workflow and the addition of observation beds for patients who have yet to be admitted to the hospital. Currently, Lutheran has 315 private and 88 semi-private inpatient beds. The total number of inpatient beds is not expected to change as a result of this project.

"Life at the bedside has evolved a great deal since we moved to this campus nearly two decades ago, and Lutheran has always adapted quickly to the ever-changing needs of a diverse patient population," said Joe Dorko, chief executive officer, Lutheran Hospital. "Today, we utilize advanced technologies such as computers and bar coding in every patient room to deliver care and educate individuals who come to us with increasingly complex needs. Having the ability to add more privacy, space and resources throughout the entire hospital allows us to continue to provide a positive experience for patients and their families."

Some site work related to this project is already underway on Lutheran's campus. Construction of a second helipad just east of the current helipad began April 19. The second helipad will be used exclusively during construction. The area surrounding the main helipad will be fenced off and used as a staging area for construction equipment and materials during the project. Both helipads will be utilized when the fifth floor is finished.

At the end of May, a crane will be erected inside an interior stairwell and will rise up through the roof to assist with the transport of construction materials from the ground. The back stairwell, which will house the crane, is primarily used now by associates and physicians.

Pre-existing space between the hospital's fourth floor and roof will allow for construction to take place without significant impact on operations inside the hospital. The fourth floor will remain open during construction.

"Maintaining the highest level of patient care and service during and after construction has been at the forefront of this planning process," said Karen Springer, chief operating officer, Lutheran Hospital. "We are very pleased that the architects and contractors are helping us implement a plan that allows the public to continue to travel to the campus and enter different areas of the hospital, including the emergency department, via the same routes they are using now."

Fifth floor construction updates and campus maps will be available through the hospital’s website, which can be accessed by visiting Patients will also be able to view progress from their rooms on a closed-circuit television channel.

Design services for the project are being handled by MSKTD & Associates Inc. The general contractor is Weigand Construction. At the height of construction, approximately 150 individuals will be working at the job site.

Other recent renovations at Lutheran include updates to the Childbirth Suites, the neonatal intensive care unit, the cardiovascular intensive care unit and the inpatient oncology unit. An expansion and upgrade to the electrophysiology lab, where patients receive advanced cardiac care, is already underway. The addition of the fifth floor will be the largest project in terms of total reinvestment and new rooms at Lutheran since the hospital moved to West Jefferson Boulevard in 1992.

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