When Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was
planning a new neurosciences intensive care unit (Neuro ICU) for neurology and
neurosurgery patients, they went directly to the source for advice: the families
and patients who had spent time in the current facility. Today, the result of
that collaboration was unveiled.
square feet, the $16.5 million Neuro ICU takes up half of the fifth floor at
the Ardmore Tower. Its perimeter is one-quarter of a mile. The 24-bed facility has
a calming, light and airy feel with art on the walls, plenty of natural light
and a double-matted floor that is soft and easy on the feet as it quiets foot
traffic, all of which is conducive to a healing environment.
meets families when they arrive and provides a tour of the family-friendly
features that include:
- a large family waiting room with comfortable
chairs and couches, flat screen televisions and a wall-mounted game system for
- a family lounge that has a kitchenette with a
microwave and refrigerator, chairs and tables, a washer and dryer so families
can clean their clothes, two bathrooms with a shower and lockers to stow personal
items; vending machines provide laundry products, toiletries and snacks
- two conference rooms, for family updates and
conversations between physicians and families, with audio-visual capabilities
for viewing education videos or images that help explain a condition, injury or
treatment and one that permits live teleconferencing and sharing of information
between physicians and family members who live far away
- a quiet room for families undergoing an
extremely stressful situation
- all patient rooms are private and larger, which
allows family members to get a good night’s sleep close to their loved ones.
Each room is equipped with convertible furniture that can be used as a bed,
couch or a work station with plug-ins for electronic devices.
These family-centered amenities
support a new approach to patient care in the Neuro ICU. It was once thought
that following a neurological illness or injury, it was best to have all patients
rest and family access restricted. Now there is mounting evidence that in most
cases having family around, and participating in patient care, improves a
patient’s recovery. Further, family members are welcomed at the bedside where
they can learn firsthand from nurses about how to care for their loved ones
once they return home.
new Neuro ICU replaces two 11-bed ICUs currently housed in the North Tower. The
unit will serve a variety of patients including those who experience stroke,
head trauma and brain injury or those who need acute post-surgical care.
it comes to patient care and safety, Wake Forest Baptist project managers, neurologists,
neurosurgeons, critical care physicians and nursing staff went to their colleagues
and peers to find the best practices in health care facilities across the
country. Feedback from families and providers about other recently constructed health
care facilities was incorporated.
are some of the elements featured in the unit:
- lifts are located at each bed to allow
patients to be easily moved from the bed; the lifts are part of a new approach
to patient care in a Neuro ICU designed to encourage patients to be mobile as
soon as possible in their recovery. Wake Forest Baptist is one of the first in
the nation with this system in place
- ceiling-attached booms house electrical outlets
and oxygen access and allow free movement around the patient and clears the
floor of cable and device clutter, creating a safe environment
- copper-infused solid countertops and surfaces
- decentralized nursing stations throughout the
ICU keep providers close to their patients
is also another unique feature for clinical staff who work in this high-stress
environment: a staff respite room with showers, comfortable furniture and
acoustics that block out noise from overhead messages, chatter, phones and other
The unit reflects Wake Forest Baptist’s commitment to provide
leading-edge patient and family centered care as well as its continued investment
in the neurosciences. Wake Forest Baptist’s neurosciences program supports the
full range of comprehensive neurological and
neurosurgical subspecialty services to those in our community and the region.
architect/designer for the Neuro ICU is HKS, Richmond, Va.; the general
contractor is Frank L. Blum, Winston-Salem.