New unit at Aspirus Wausau Hospital advances access to critical care services
A new, contemporary, medical surgical intensive care unit (MSICU) opened at Aspirus Wausau Hospital (AWH). The new 16-bed department was needed to meet the increasing demand of acute care patients being admitted to the hospital. The unit provides critical life support for patients recovering from life-threatening procedures or events.
The new MSICU contains innovative design features with warm colors, abundant lighting, video boards and modern amenities. Moveable booms are used in place of walking IV poles and can circulate 360 degrees around the patient bed. This allows staff to quickly move equipment into place without relocating stationary cords. Electronic bariatric lifts are installed in each room and four rooms have the capability to lift up to 1,000 pounds. The others have a 500 pound capacity. This helps ensure the safe transport of the patient from the bed to wheelchair, gurney or the bathroom.
A ceiling-mounted walking track was installed on the north side of the MSICU that will assist patients during recovery. The track supports the patient with the aid of a harness and allows them to walk without the fear of falling. “Getting your loved one on their feet to take their first step during recovery can be challenging and the walking track takes the fear of falling out of the equation,” said MSICU Interim Manager, Misty Ward. “That fear can be very debilitating and this allows them to focus on taking steps and gaining strength while recovering.”
Keeping family members close was a key initiative in the design of the new unit. Family members typically feel a tremendous amount of stress and grief while their loved one is in intensive care and behind the sliding glass doors of each patient room is a semi-private serenity room with natural lighting via skylights. The serenity rooms were designed to create a healing environment and each includes a landscape mural with nature scenes. The distance in each picture is intended for the observer to feel like they’re in the scene and studies have shown looking at nature can enhance healing and calm feelings. Each serenity room also includes comfortable seating, a television and two USB ports to charge phones and electronic devices. Keeping family members nearby can also reduce the stress of the patient to assist a healing environment.
“The new MSICU will be a tremendous asset to our hospital and will advance our capacity to offer critically-ill patients an aesthetically-pleasing, healing environment,” said Aspirus Wausau Hospital President, Darrell Lentz. “Our team worked tirelessly to create a new intensive care unit that will improve outcomes for patients who turn to us for their health care needs.”
The unit has a digital welcome board which features the names and pictures of each staff member on duty. The goal is to help families feel comfortable by introducing caregivers before walking into the room. The large work station in the center of the unit was designed to be an integrated location for staff, physicians, residents and fellows to discuss patient care in a multi-disciplinary format.
Amenities and infection control design elements in the MSICU include a thermometer in each room for patient comfort, ceiling fans, restrooms with disposable privacy curtains, a computer dedicated to each room which helps keep nurses as close to patient care as possible and a nutrition station.
Renovations will begin on the old MSICU to create a new 12-bed cardiac intensive care unit.
Aspirus Wausau Hospital is continually recognized nationally for the level of care it provides and has earned high quality ratings or awards from prominent quality agencies such as Healthgrades, Thomson Reuters, Truven Health, Becker’s Hospital Review, Mission: Lifeline® and U.S. News & World Report.