Making the Children’s Hospital a reality
Anticipation is growing for the opening of the new 252,000-square-foot Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, set for late this fall. While progress on the building’s exterior is visible for everyone to see, the transition plans are in full swing behind the scenes. The contractors are moving level by level through the interior of the building to finish walls and run cables and wiring, to lay flooring materials and install cabinetry, and to prepare each room to receive the equipment that has been designated for the space.
The project team, equipment planners, purchasing agents, move planners, internal unit managers, and various other teams along with Gil Pak, operations director for Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, are managing every detail of the move. “We are meeting regularly to finalize the process. We’re also preparing and educating the staff before the move so we’re fully functional once we’re open,” explains Pak.
One innovative way in which the staff is being prepped is through a virtual video technology being developed for the project utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. “We are working with Penn State’s Engineering Department to create what looks like a video game, where the staff can go in and out of the rooms and get used to the new layout,” explains Patti Hart, M.S.N., R.N., C.P.N., N.E.-B.C., director of nursing for the Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health. “Then, once the building is complete, we will take each staff member through the building and simulate real-life scenarios so they can acclimate themselves to the new setting.”
The new hospital will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including a dedicated surgical suite complete with five operating rooms and a hybrid catheterization/operating room. “Children will have the opportunity to experience surgery as well as pre- and post-op care within the Children’s Hospital. These children will benefit from having this care provided by health care providers trained in and devoted exclusively to the care of children, within a facility that has been built specifically for their needs,” says A. Craig Hillemeier, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and medical director of the Children’s Hospital.
The hospital’s design is also focused on patient- and family-centered care. The patient rooms–which are all private–are not only larger but have three different zones to accommodate the clinical staff, the patient, and the family. This will give everyone their own space to work in, relax and recover.
“People have been talking about this for so long. It’s a great morale boost to see this hospital come to fruition,” says Pak.
– By Dawn Costantini