For those who witnessed the move of 191 pediatric patients into the new 317-bed, state-of-the art patient care pavilion at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in July, the day appeared to flow seamlessly. Yet few patients and their families realized the move involved a concentrated team effort that took months of planning and collaboration by an interdisciplinary team.
“We started on the design of the new Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion over 11 years ago,” said Mary Dee Hacker, RN, MBA, CNO and VP of patient care services at CHLA. “When our construction was almost completed, we began holding regular meetings where we planned every detail of moving the children, many who are on life-saving equipment, to eliminate any potential problems ahead of time and ensure that each patient was moved safely.”
Kathy Stevenson, RN, house supervisor and disaster research manager at CHLA, oversaw the logistics of the move, which took about eight hours, traveling across the hospital campus and covering approximately 1,200 square feet.
“We determined two paths of travel, and we walked those with mobile hospital beds to simulate the patient moves and determine the best way to get the equipment in and out of elevators. We used buckets of water placed in the beds to show the pace at which the move should be done and to ensure patient comfort and reduce friction,” Stevenson said. “During our practices, we discovered that some IVs would need extension cords, some patients might need additional equipment, and we identified the best pace to move patients in a regular sequence.”Mary Dee Hacker, RN
Child life specialists from the hospital talked with patients and their parents to let them know what would take place the day of the move, and a multilingual brochure was distributed to families to answer common questions about the move and new facility.
Kathy Stevenson, RN
Ready at the helm
On the day of the event, a command center was staffed with support and clinical staff monitoring the status of each patient’s move. More than 100 hospital volunteers from human resources, finance and other departments were stationed throughout the route with walkie-talkies and phones to ensure there were no obstructions in the hallways.
“We planned for each patient to be transported to the new facility with a care team that included a nurse, the child’s parent, and sometimes an additional nurse or physician and respiratory therapist,” Stevenson said. “Every two and a half minutes, a child would be moved; in some cases, we had up to 12 people on a care team, depending on the child’s stability, and we allowed more time for the moves of critical patients.”
The move began at 7 a.m. and ended just after 3:30 p.m., with all patients transported safely to their new rooms in the modern seven-story, 460,000-square-foot pavilion.
“The process went smoothly thanks to the dedication of our staff,” Stevenson said. “We had more than 1,200 physicians, nurses and staff members working on this project to ensure patient safety.”
The team also held three “Day in the Life” events, where staff participated in all-day simulations of patient moves and new facility operations.
“We simulated an admission, a code and possible scenarios that could happen in the units or while moving patients, so that our staff would feel comfortable working in the new environment,” Hacker said.
Because major media outlets from the area were on hand to cover the day of the move, the hospital designated patients who had consented to be photographed by giving them a blue blanket, and a green one to children who were not to be photographed.
“The entire planning of the new facility is an example of a wonderful collaboration between physicians, nurses, family and staff members,” Hacker said. “Before we finalized plans for the rooms, we had three mock-up rooms where we asked for input and adjusted the plans to reflect the feedback we received.”
CHLA’s new patient care pavilion features a larger number of private rooms, central monitoring at each child’s bedside, and a “Get Well” electronic network that provides entertainment, as well as important medical information to patients and their families on topics such as disease management, changing dressings and living with a chronic condition.