BEHIND THE SCENES: OLOL Children’s Hospital team simulates patient transfer

OLOL Children's Hospital practices transferring patients before opening day

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A team of doctors and nurses is preparing to move an entire unit of pediatric care to the new, free-standing Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.

The staff at OLOL gave WAFB an exclusive look behind the scenes as they move into their new building.

Moving 50 kids less than half of a mile has taken years of planning and preparation.
Moving 50 kids less than half of a mile has taken years of planning and preparation. (Source: WAFB)

Teams at OLOL are working through a simulation process in preparation for the grand opening of the new children’s hospital.

Dr. Trey Dunbar, president of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, says they’ve been practicing and planning for this move for years.

“We’ve done a whole lot of tabletop exercises,” Dr. Dunbar said. “We want to test all of our different systems and make sure that what we’ve planned out on paper goes as we expect.”

Teams will be transporting the most precious of cargo: about 50 children who will take the short trip down Constantin Boulevard. At only half a mile long, the distance may not be great, but the challenges are.

More: Ribbon cutting held for Constantin Boulevard, connecting OLOL Children’s Hospital to Essen Lane

“We may be moving children who are on isolation. We may be moving children who are on traction or who have other equipment needs,” Dunbar said. “We need to prepare for all of those eventualities.”

A critical part of making these patient transfers successful are the paramedics with Acadian Ambulance.

Acadian Ambulance will play a critical part in the transfer of sensitive pediatric patients, hoping to move one every three minutes into the new Children's Hospital.
Acadian Ambulance will play a critical part in the transfer of sensitive pediatric patients, hoping to move one every three minutes into the new Children's Hospital. (Source: WAFB)

On the morning of the move, Acadian hopes to transfer one patient every three minutes. Each ambulance gets thoroughly disinfected after every drop. Acadian Ambulance plans to have ten units on hand Saturday, Oct. 5 to make the massive effort possible.

“They’ve been a great partner with us. Every time that we have sat down and practiced, they’ve been at the table,” Dunbar said.

To make sure every room at the new hospital is ready, there’s an extensive checklist attached to each one. OLOL hired an expert who has helped move 65 hospitals around the country, including 12 children’s hospitals.

It’s a rare maneuver that must be done right.

“For us, it’s almost a one in a career event,” Dunbar said. “And this is huge for Baton Rouge and the State of Louisiana. We’re just happy to kind of move to one stage of completion so that we can begin the bigger project of improving care for the kids across Louisiana.”

The new children’s hospital officially opens Saturday, Oct. 5.

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