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New MSICU to feature more space for families

Toronto, June 24, 2014

By Kendra Stephenson

A conceptual rendering of what the future MSICU could look like.
A conceptual rendering of what the future MSICU could look like.

The Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit, or MSICU, of St. Michael’s 3.0 is being designed with patient- and family-centered care in mind.

“There is sometimes great sadness in the MSICU, but it’s also touching to be trusted by families in such a vulnerable time,” said Dr. Antoine Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and medical director of the Trauma and Neurosurgery ICU, who was heavily involved in designing the new MSICU.

“It’s very rewarding, having the opportunity to shape and improve that space. We can make a real difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones.”

The new facility will address the challenges of the current location, where equipment, caregivers and families are all crowded into a small space around patient beds. When doctors need to speak with families – often difficult conversations – they often have to leave the unit to have privacy or personal space.

The new facility will have all single-patient rooms. Each room will have three zones – a patient area with 360-degree access for caregivers and equipment, a family zone next to the window and a health team space with bedside technology for electronic charting and monitoring patients. Families will also have access to support spaces on the unit, including a family lounge, private consultation rooms and team workroom.

“Part of the major refocus for the new MSICU is bringing patients, families and the health team together,” said Dr. Pronovost, who has an interest in planning in addition to his critical care background. “We know that patients are at their most vulnerable when they are in the ICU and their families care deeply for them and want to be at their bedside.”

Ad for St. Michael's 3.0 content In addition to more privacy, single-patient rooms have better sound insulation, making for a less stressful environment and better sleep cycles, Dr. Pronovost said. The rooms are also designed for better infection control and each one will have a patient lift, staff hand-washing sink and pair of articulating arms.

The MISCU will occupy the fourth floor of the patient care tower and Cardinal Carter South, with 24 private rooms and three negative pressure isolation rooms. One of the private rooms and one of the negative pressure rooms will be capable of handling bariatric patients.

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 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health 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.