Hutchinson Regional Medical Center (HRMC) dedicates a new state-of-the-art, high tech 25,000 square foot Intensive Care Unit (ICU) August 16. The new ICU is replacing one that was built in 1975 as part of the original hospital construction.
The hospital upgrade ranks as the fourth largest construction project in Hutchinson’s history.
Intensive Care Units were implemented in military hospitals during the early 1950s by the nations’ Armed Forces to treat seriously injured soldiers during the Korean War with positive results exceeding their greatest expectations. Soon, a national group of healthcare professionals were suggesting that what worked well for the military in war time might produce similar results in civilian run hospitals.
Dr. Jack Wortman arrived in Hutchinson on July 1, 1966 (the first day Medicare was available) for a 30-year career as a practicing physician. Early in his career, in approximately 1967, Dr. Wortman spearheaded an effort to establish an ICU within Hutchinson’s two hospitals, Grace and St. Elizabeth. In a recent conversation with Dr. Wortman, he recalled that four rooms were set aside at each hospital for the ICU and each facility purchased several pieces of monitoring equipment including a defibrillator. As primitive as this may seem in today’s healthcare environment, it was a beginning for an ICU that now compares with the best of the best in Kansas.
Intensive Care Units cater to patients with severe and life-threatening illnesses and injuries who require close monitoring and support from special equipment and medication to ensure normal bodily functions. These units are staffed by highly trained physicians and nurses who specialize in caring for critically ill or injured persons.
ICUs are different from other hospital wards by a higher staff-to-patient ratio and access to advanced medical resources and equipment that is not routinely available elsewhere.
Patients arriving in a hospital’s Emergency Department may be transferred to the ICU if their condition deteriorates, or if the patient is at a high risk for complications following surgery.
The $23 million project is funded in part through a $4 million contribution from the Hutchinson Regional Medical Foundation. Approximately $6 million of the total was designated for an upgrade in the hospital’s electrical grid and other systems. Municipal bonds have been issued to cover the remaining costs of the enhancement and will not result in additional taxes for Hutchinson residents.
A committee of hospital employees collaborated on the plans for the new ICU with a round design creating a more patient friendly environment as it gives nurses a direct line of sight in the facility. Eighteen patient rooms, nearly double the size of the previous ICU rooms, are designed with spacious, family waiting areas and each room has a window.
Nurse stations are located outside of each room rather than in the center, which provides a quicker response time to patient needs and the ability to document patient conditions more closely.
Other features include a nurse call system enabling information sharing across multiple systems, which will assist in reducing errors, improving performance, and eliminating wasted time and effort. A new Telemetry system will allow physicians to remotely view their patients’ heart rhythms.
The rooms feature over the head booms rather than lines coming out of the wall that were previously used to run cables and tubing, allowing nurses to access patients easier.
A sophisticated $2 million Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit was installed proximate to the ICU during July and is now serving patients. The Siemens Magnetom Aera 48 Coil 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner is the most advanced MRI technology in South Central Kansas, including Wichita, and is capable of producing incredibly high-resolution images of internal organs-particularly the heart, intestines, and prostate.
In addition, Hutchinson Regional Medical Foundation donation will cover the $2.7 million cost for the MRI and building.
Nabholz Corporation, a Mid-Western construction company, was the general contractor for the project; Health Facilities Group (HFG) was the architect while Kruse Corporation was in charge of system improvements. Both are Wichita based companies. Whenever possible, local work crews were hired by the contractors. Also, Heineken Electric, a Beloit company, installed the electrical upgrades.
The new ICU will complement the HRMC Emergency Department which was opened in January, 2015.
Wes Hoyt, the Chief Operating Officer for Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System (HRHS) has overseen the 19 month project which was completed four months ahead of schedule which will allow this incredible facility to save lives earlier than expected.
These recent improvements at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center are all designed to provide the best medical care possible to you and your family, at the times you need it most.
The public is invited to come and take a look at the new ICU at a ribbon cutting scheduled for 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Thursday August 16