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New ED, patient care tower to feature space for families

Toronto, January 15, 2013

By Leslie Shepherd

The St, Michael's 3.o renewal project will make it easier for families to be involved in patient care.

Working groups have been looking at everything from making sure there is appropriate space for families in inpatient and critical care rooms, to what kind of bedside technology would enhance patient and family education.

Joyce Fenuta, director for specialized complex care, co-led the team that looked at critical care areas with an eye to balancing patient and family needs with such things as workflow, safety and privacy.

All patient rooms in the new medical surgical intensive care unit and coronary care unit will be single rooms which will automatically give families more space and privacy at some of the most difficult and stressful times of their lives.

Fenuta said the working group also looked at ways to allow families to access the MSICU and CCU without immediately walking through the entire critical care area.

"It's a bit of a challenge," she said. "These patients are quite ill, and that is why families feel they need to be with them. We need to allow families the privacy to enter the critical care environment in a way that preserves their loved ones’ dignity, and set up an environment that can prepare them for what they may encounter with their loved ones. We also need an area where we can have confidential discussions with patients and their families about treatments or their prognosis."

Charmaine Mothersill, clinical leader/manager for respirology, said inpatient floors are being designed to have areas where discussions can happen easily and confidentially with family members, with easy access to technology to support the teaching and learning.

"Patient care doesn't end when the patient leaves the hospital, but continues at home, where much of it is done by families," Mothersill said. "We need areas conducive to educating staff, patients and families."

Mothersill said all the inpatient rooms in the new patient care tower will be private, with space for families to sit at the bedside. Bigger single rooms also improve patient care as patients can use equipment such as exercise bikes in their own rooms in respirology, rather than in the hall. Infection control also improves as it allows for in-room storage of supplies and less chance of cross-contamination.

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.