St. Vincent's new tower means more patients will be treated in style

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center has high hopes for its new East Tower.

'Being able to open this tower is great,' said Janice Burger, administrator of the medical center. 'We've talked and planned for it for years.'

Completion of the new addition and its 72 patient beds is a milestone for the campus as it expands services.

'We don't build new beds lightly,' Burger said. 'It's based on the fact that we are at capacity. We run full a lot, and that means ambulances can't come here. On average, six hours a day we have to divert patients to other hospitals. Our goal is to get that to zero. We need to have our doors open and be ready for every patient.'

The addition will do a great deal to ease capacity concerns, especially as winter nears.

'The timing is really good,' Burger said during last Thursday's dedication and blessing of the East Tower.

'It's wonderful'

The $42 million, seven-story tower includes pediatric rooms designed for children and their family members, since there is usually at least one parent who stays with a young patient at all times.

The 72,000-square foot addition also includes a 12-bed behavioral health wing that incorporates design and color to enhance the recovery of those suffering from mental illness.

Providence St. Vincent is also remodeling existing behavioral health rooms to incorporate the new design and color concepts. All semi-private rooms on the behavioral health unit will also be converted to single-patient rooms.

The remaining new beds in the tower will serve cardiac, neurology and medical/surgery patients.

'I think it's wonderful,' said Sister Rita Ferschweiler, a Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation board member. 'What this tower is doing is meeting the needs of this community. That's what our sisters have done for 150 years, wherever we've worked. The people here are carrying on the heritage.'

The new rooms also feature the latest in medical technology from air-flow systems that contain airborne contaminants and keep them from spreading to common areas and other rooms to updated monitoring and information systems.

The rooms and beds are fully adaptable for patients, whether they need intensive care, extended stays or will only be monitored overnight.

'The new rooms also have dedicated space for family,' Burger said. 'We want family members to be comfortable and spend as much time as they like with their loved ones.'

Tower blends

Albert Starr, a world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon with the hospital, called the rooms 'patient friendly.'

'The design is light with big windows and a nice setting so that patients don't feel cooped up in a little cave,' Starr said. 'It's a clever use of space.'

He said the new tower complemented the existing buildings on campus.

'It's marvelous,' Starr said of the addition. 'There are so many advantages to being able to build off our infrastructure.

'We've added a lot of new technology that gives us a modern touch while the tower itself blends into the façade and enhances the whole look of the campus.'

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