Mercy Medical Center Shows off New I.C.U. Wing
By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Saving time and improving communication saves lives. That's what hospital staff say is the theory behind a renovation project at Mercy Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit. The entire I.C.U. project cost about $13 million, with $3 million of that coming from community donations.
Hospital staff started planning the new unit 3 years ago, and demolished the old one in November of 2010. Crews began building in March of last year.
One major part of this renovation is improving the way patients and staff communicate with each other.
One example is a new nurse calling system. It used to be when a patient needed a nurse they'd push a bedside button and a light would pop on outside the door to alert the nurse. Now, the button sends a message to a nurse on a cell phone. It's kind of like a text message. It helps the nurse get to the patient much faster.
Another new piece of technology is a language translation system. A doctor can speak into a monitor, and the patient's instructions can be translated into 29 different languages.
With another new piece of technology doctors are able to log onto a computer at home or at their office to see a LIVE monitor displaying the patient's vital signs.
Directors say this saves steps and time which, they say, leads to saving lives.
Intensive Care Unit Director, Bob Wethal R.N., B.S.N. said, "When a patient isn't doing well we can call the physician and instead of just explaining to them what we are seeing we can actually see all the vital signs. We can see the wave forms and see the ventilator. "
The renovation also includes the way the unit is laid out. There used to be a central nurses station where nurses do paperwork. Now, each nurse has his or her own small station that has windows into the patient's rooms. That way nurses can keep a more constant watch on their patients.
Mercy is hosting an open house to show off the changes. The open house is set for Sunday, August 26th, from 12 to 4 p.m.
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