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Better patient care — by clinician design

Over the past five to six years, hundreds of doctors, nurses and other caregivers at Rush University Medical Center have contributed to plans for the new hospital. Drawing on their years of experience, countless interactions with patients and families, and a shared passion for outstanding medicine, they've helped create a space designed for the best patient care. Here, five clinicians who played key roles in the planning share some of their favorite elements of the design that will enhance patient care.

More than meets the eye

"Naturally, all hospitals want to maintain the highest quality standards, but Rush is unique in making infection control a priority while architectural plans were still being drawn.

"For instance, because air quality is crucial to controlling infection, we're using multiple filters to provide air throughout the hospital that's as clean as what is used in the operating rooms. Ensuring high-quality air is an important part of creating the safest possible environment."

John Segreti, MD, is chair of the Infection Prevention and Control Committee at Rush. His research interests include antibiotic resistance and hospital-acquired infections.

All together now

"One of the big advantages of the new hospital is that it brings together all of the expertise that patients with a particular disease might need. The 14th floor, for instance, is a dedicated inpatient cancer unit, and we have physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and psychologists all there in the same location so patients don't have to travel far for the care they need."

Howard Kaufman, MD, is director of the Rush University Cancer Center and also runs a basic science laboratory, where he explores new therapies that use the immune system to treat cancer.

Appearance matters

"Although I worked on many aspects of the planning, one of my favorites was working with the acute care floors as part of the art advisory group. As part of that group, we toured Rush's outpatient cancer center to see how we could make the artwork of the inpatient cancer floor distinct — so patients wouldn't see any repetition. For patients hospitalized with brain conditions, we talked about what type of artwork was appropriate for those who could be confused.

"We wanted to create an environment that is warm, comfortable and quiet and promotes healing. A hospital should be safe, but it should also be as pleasant as possible."

Paula Dillon, RN, has been a nurse at Rush for 35 years, and for 15 years she has been director of medical-surgical nursing, which includes oncology, transplant, acute medicine, neuroscience, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, and general surgery.

One-stop procedures

"We created an interventional platform that consists of three floors and roughly 200,000 square feet. The space is set up so that diagnostic and therapeutic procedures can all happen in the same area. For example, a patient could have an imaging procedure and an operation without being moved to another part of the hospital or even another room. It makes care more efficient for everyone."

Kenneth Tuman, MD, is chairperson of the Department of Anesthesiology and medical director of surgical services at Rush.

A designated space for families

"Family-centered care is what we want to deliver, so we designed a family and visitor zone in every patient room. There is an expandable sofa so loved ones can stay overnight, and visitors have their own storage space, outlets and lights.

"The point is to make people feel welcome — that their presence was planned for. We know it's important for patients to have a family member close by."

Angela Moody-Parker, RN, is unit director of the neurosciences intensive care unit at Rush and has been committed to the neurosciences since her brother's experience with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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