Woman's Hospital preps for big move to $327 million facility

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The process of moving to the new Woman's Hospital facility began about a year and a half ago with detailed planning of the transition. Part of that process includes practice runs for hospital staff, which is going on this week.

The staff at Woman's Hospital will soon be settling into a new $327 million facility. Until then, preparations are well underway for the big move, which is scheduled for Aug. 5. Ground broke on the new facility back in 2008 and hospital officials have been planning for the transition into the new facility for more than a year. Part of that transition is training staff on several practice scenarios.

"This is an activity to help us prepare for our patient move and being able to operate in the new hospital," said Roxanne Butler, campus development coordinator. "As you can imagine, moving a hospital is different than any other thing you might do. Any other business, you can stop your services, you can pack up and move, but moving a hospital takes a whole lot more planning."

Butler said the move is a lot like settling into a new house. Each staff member has to relearn and adjust to a new environment. The hospital has also developed new and more efficient procedures to compliment the state of the art equipment.

During the drills, proctors keep an eye on the work flow and efficiency, giving suggestions and making sure everyone understands the new hospital layout. Hospital staff members take turns playing patients, so there is also feedback from the patient point of view.

"We have to hit the ground running. People have to know exactly what their roles are, where things are stored, what they're doing, who they're calling, all those new phone numbers and new processes," Butler added.

The hospital will begin moving equipment and offices in a few weeks a little bit at a time. The last part of that move will be on the opening day when actual patients and essential medical equipment are transferred.

Hospital staff members say the new rooms and facility are a wish list come to life. The staff member and community residents gave input throughout the planning and building process to create the ideal environment.

"The perfect patient experience, that was our end goal," said Cheri Johnson, director of obstetrics. "We have excellent care, we have a reputation for the best care in the city and we wanted to continue that and really even do it better."

Every detail of the hospital has been meticulously planned from the new patient rooms, which consist of 390 square feet, to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which has an "Under the Sea" theme to create a nursery atmosphere for those families with premature births.

The NICU also has one of the only operating room in the country designed specifically for the needs of a NICU. This includes heating panels in the ceiling, which keep the room warm. Staci Sullivan, the vice president of infant and pediatrics, explained that unlike an adult operating, it is important to keep up a baby's body temperature.

"We hope that they're going to love the building just as much as we do, and it's going to take a great memorable experience and even make it better," said Johnson.

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