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Conversion to All-Private Rooms at Lutheran Well Underway

Eight-month oncology unit renovation nears completion

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Tuesday, April 26, 2011) – Lutheran Hospital's second floor including the oncology unit and the cardiovascular intensive care unit have received $2.5 million in upgrades and remodeling. The $600,000 oncology unit renovation, which began Aug. 30, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the week. This phase is part of a hospital-wide effort at Lutheran to transition its remaining semi-private rooms to all-private patient rooms. The oncology unit has been converted to 26 all-private patient rooms and the entire unit has been refreshed.

An oncology patient who has stayed in both the pre-renovated rooms and now in the updated space really appreciates the changes.

"Everything about the new patient rooms is better; now I have more room for my visitors and the restrooms and showers are great," said Russell Woodruff. "I really like the modern updates and bright colors help me feel more positive. I definitely want a single room when I am receiving chemo treatments."

"Lutheran's renovation creates a comforting ambiance that is conducive to recovery," said Praveen Kollipara, MD, Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology. "The luxury of private rooms as a standard helps ensure quality care for patients and their families during a challenging time. Additionally, it enables me to do my job better since I can speak openly in a private setting."

Besides the conversion to all-private rooms, updates in the oncology unit include: fresh paint, all new wood laminate and tile flooring, casework, cabinets, recessed lighting and flat screen cable televisions. In addition, the nurses' stations, staff conference room, physician dictation area, family lounge area and signage throughout the unit are also receiving updates.

"It made sense to us that the physicians and staff caring for patients on the floor should have input about what they would like to see added or changed," said Joe Dorko, CEO, Lutheran Health Network. "The direct caregivers know from experience what patients need to make their stay as comfortable as possible and tapping into that insight has been valuable."

Lutheran's oncology staff worked with designers to select a brighter color scheme, the Corian® countertops with set-in sinks to reduce germ collection, the furniture colors and styles for patient rooms and 20 new task chairs for clinical staff. Carpet has also been removed to improve infection control. Sleeper chairs in patient rooms have been added to better accommodate family members. The recessed lights have a dimmer switch to be less intrusive for patients, which was a recommendation of a night shift nurse.

The placement of medication cabinets are more user-friendly, more streamlined. The nurse stations have elevated Corian® countertops, keyboards under the desks and computer monitors on ergonomic arms. The cabinets have patient chart dividers and doors will be added later when paperless charting is fully implemented.

Each unit of the hospital is being updated by closing partial sections so no more than four or five beds are out of service at any one time. Operations have maintained throughout the entire project. Walls from ceiling to the floor are erected to keep dust and debris confined. Infection control barriers with negative flow air prevent construction air from entering patient rooms.

"Weigand Construction has made accommodations so willingly, they have been wonderful to work with," said Aimee Young, nurse manager, oncology 2A, Lutheran Hospital. "Morale is high because the atmosphere has been renewed; now it's a brighter, more cheerful, cleaner space. Weigand has made a challenging project environment much simpler."

Lutheran announced plans last May to add a fifth floor to the hospital to allow for the addition of 96 new private patient rooms and the continued renovation of existing units. These efforts will ultimately expedite the hospital's transition to all private patient rooms.

The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recently granted its Outstanding Achievement Award to the Lutheran cancer program as a result of surveys performed during 2010. The award applauds cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. Lutheran Hospital is one of only 90 currently and newly accredited cancer programs in the United States to receive this award. Only 17 percent of programs surveyed achieved this designation.


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