- This past January, Rush opened its new state-of-the-art hospital. This 14-story building marks a milestone in the Rush Transformation, a 10-year, $1 billion investment that is focused on one goal: providing the best care for patients. Hundreds of caregivers — including cancer specialists — contributed to the plans for the new hospital, called the Tower. They worked with architects to take the traditional hospital cross shape and expand the inside corners outward to create a butterfly design, giving clinicians better sightlines and access to supplies. Three consecutive floors at the base of the hospital are devoted to what is known as an interventional platform, and patient rooms are located on the top five floors.
The 14th — and top — floor of the butterfly is dedicated to inpatient cancer care, a floor in which all nurses are certified by the Oncology Nursing Society to care for patients with cancer.
“Everything was designed to be patientcentered,” says Henry Fung, D, director of the Stem Cell Transplantation program at Rush, who was part of a group of physicians who helped design the dedicated cancer floor. “We have more space and better technology. We are much better equipped now, and that will lead to better patient outcomes.”
Promoting Proximity and Infection Control
With great attention to detail, the Tower’s design team of caregivers and architects created space to meet the unique needs of cancer patients. The following are some features of the dedicated cancer floor:
- Air quality that reduces the potential of infections; a filtered ventilation grid removes potential airborne contaminants in each surgical suite and specially pressurized rooms protect patients at increased risk of infections. The absence of carpeting in areas where immunocompromised patients receive care also helps reduce germ levels.
- Centrally located clinical work stations — supply and medication areas with clear lines of sight to patient rooms, with conference and educational spaces at the tips of the butterfly “wings.”
- Standardized clinical work stations and patient rooms. This means everything is in the same place from one room to the next, allowing staff to find what they need as quickly as possible, which is particularly important during emergencies when time is of the essence.
New Space Brings New Treatment Opportunities
The new hospital has enabled Rush to develop leading-edge programs thanks to its pristine air quality. For example, HEPA-filtered air in rooms with positive pressure ventilation allows physicians at Rush to pursue a new therapy option called haploidentical stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for patients with cancers that affect the blood.
This transplantation requires only a partial donor match, but the procedure can be challenging because recipients are especially vulnerable to infection. Due to the need for high-quality air, few medical centers are able to perform HSCT. At Rush, doctors now have the capability to perform HSCT, allowing people to receive transplants who otherwise wouldn’t, and that has the potential to save many lives. “For the conventional transplant procedure, approximately 70 percent of patients do not have a suitable donor,” Fung says. “HSCT has the potential to eliminate this problem by using donors who are not exact matches. This expands the donor pool to more family members.”
Collaborative Spirit Strengthened
Collaboration is and always has been a cornerstone of Rush’s cancer program. Having a dedicated floor strengthens this spirit by bringing together cancer specialists from different areas in a patient care setting. “Having these specialized clinicians in the same space helps communication a great deal,” Fung says. “We’re sharing work stations on the 14th floor where we exchange opinions, talk about our current research and discuss new treatments. We learn from each other and that’s not only good for us as physicians, it’s good for our patients.”
The Interventional Platform
The Tower’s “interventional platform” brings together interventional and perioperative procedures — including inpatient and outpatient diagnostic and therapeutic services — on three adjacent floors. This new design concept, which has been implemented at only a few hospitals in the United States, aims to facilitate collaboration among physicians. This will help promote patient safety and convenience while enhancing the patient experience. For example, all levels of the platform will have areas for patient registration, preprocedural preparation and postprocedure recovery, eliminating the need for patients to travel between multiple locations within the Medical Center.
The platform includes the following features:
- Larger operating rooms (ORs) built to accommodate equipment required by current and future advances, including intraoperative imaging, microsurgery and robotics.
- A hybrid OR that accommodates combined surgical and interventional procedures, allowing clinicians to provide a full spectrum of imaging and intervention techniques without having to move the patient.
- An audiovisual system that connects all ORs to each other, to other departments and to referring physicians.
More About Patient Rooms …
- All rooms are situated along external walls, allowing patient rooms and public gathering areas to be flooded with natural light while offering expansive skyline views.
- In all patient rooms, patient safety is paramount:
- Sink design helps prevent infection; sinks have no crevices where water can accumulate, reducing the likelihood of mold.
- Handrails between beds and showers help to prevent falls where they happen most often.