Indianapolis Construction Update

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Local firefighters get sneak peek at St. Francis Indianapolis project

Phase I nearing end of completion; ER and other services to open April 13

INDIANAPOLIS – Firefighters had an inside look at how work is progressing in the expansion of the Franciscan St. Francis Health Indianapolis campus on the city’s south side.

Indianapolis Fire Department members from Perry and Franklin townships visited the facility Jan. 26 with hospital officials and project managers, getting a basement-to-roof look at areas nearing completion and those where construction remains under way.

"This tour gave firefighters an opportunity to become familiar with new areas of the hospital and to familiarize them with the fire alarm system and critical access points," said St. Francis Security Director Michael Johnson.

One of their stops took the fire crew up six flights of steps to the roof of the patient tower, one of the tallest vantage points in southern Marion and Johnson counties.

Meanwhile, St. Francis officials report that Phase I services are slated for opening April 13. These services are located in the basement and first two levels.

Visitors will find some significant changes. The main entrance and lobby (Level I), currently located on the west side of the campus (Emerson Avenue) will be relocated to the east side of the campus, facing Interstate 65.

An expanded Emergency Department and its entrance are north and adjacent to the main entrance. When fully occupied, the emergency department will have 55 exam rooms and four trauma areas, all organized into special pods. Each pod will be used to group patients with similar diagnoses or needs – a design innovation that enhances efficiency, safety and communication between clinicians in caring for patients.

Other services and departments included in Phase I:
central sterile processing
respiratory therapy
information technology
nursing informatics
other support services

Level I
observation unit
wound care
nursing administration

Level II
recovery rooms

Work on the $265 million project, which began in late 2007, is moving at a vigorous pace, particularly in the patient bed tower (Phase II). St. Francis officials say this final phase of construction will end in late spring 2012. The tower will add 221 inpatient beds to the facility’s existing 230 beds.

"At that time we will phase out inpatient services at our Beech Grove hospital," said Keith Jewell, senior vice president and chief operating officer.

While inpatient services at Beech Grove will have moved to the 8111 S. Emerson campus with the completion of Phase II, some St. Francis outpatient services are expected to remain in Beech Grove. The hospital has been working close with Beech Grove officials and leaders about the potential re-use of the campus facilities since St. Francis announced its Indianapolis project in early 2007.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Design Innovation: ER pods make for more efficient care of patients

Although there are many doors that will lead visitors into a hospital, there are two primary entrances that are most commonly used at hospitals around the nation. For many patients and family members, the “main” entrance they use first is the door to the Emergency Room.

In fact, more than 144,000 people came through the Beech Grove, Indianapolis and Mooresville Emergency Departments in 2009.

So, when hospital leadership started making plans for the Indianapolis bed tower, they
soon included a new ER, one that could best accommodate the growing need for services.
The Indianapolis ER will be one of the first departments to relocate into the new bed
tower this spring.

The ER will be located on the first floor of the new tower, north of the new main entrance near the Heart Center. It will have 55 exam rooms, four trauma rooms, and three behavioral health rooms. Patients can be dropped off at the ER using a drive separate from the one leading to the Heart Center and main entrances. Ambulances will approach the ER via another drive on the north side of the bed tower.

According to Randy Todd, M.D., medical director for St. Francis Emergency Services, the two main focuses for planning the ER were efficiency in delivering care and round-the-clock safety of staff members.

“Our idea was not to try to predict our needs in five years but to determine a design that would be most flexible in meeting changing needs,” he said.

To that end, he and several staff members visited three other hospital ERs in Ohio and North Carolina. Their visits helped the staff and architects develop a design that included a central core near the ambulance entrance that provides patient rooms for the sickest patients and a working area for nurses and unit secretaries.

Additional patient rooms are organized in sections, or “pods” of eight beds. Each pod can be used to group patients with similar diagnoses or needs, such as a pod for pediatric patients and one for patients with acute care needs. As the patient population rises and falls during the day, the “size” of the unit changes around the central core. This way, staff is kept close together to improve efficiency and safety and enhance communication between staff members.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Francis is moving, rearranging departments to accommodate patient needs

The transition of all Beech Grove services to the Indianapolis campus, as well as the opening of the new patient tower, will happen in two phases to make the transition as convenient as possible for patients and hospital staff. Several services will also be consolidated and moved.

Here’s a quick overview on what to expect.

Phase One:

  • This spring, the basement and first two floors of the new patient tower are expected to be open to patients.
  • The expanded Emergency Department will move from its current location to floor 1 of the patient tower. In addition, the cafeteria and surgery areas will re-locate to the tower’s second floor.
  • The moving of these departments to their new locations within the patient tower will free up space in the existing hospital building and allow for expansion of services. For example, a larger pharmacy will occupy a portion of the current Emergency Department space. The current cafeteria space will transition into a cafĂ©, surgery waiting area, Human Resources Department, and offices for Administration and Medical Staff.

Phase Two:

  • In spring 2012, floors 3 through 6 will be completed. These floors primarily consist of inpatient rooms.
  • During this same time, Beech Grove’s clinical services and departments will consolidate and move to the Indianapolis campus.