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Patient Transfer To New Kohler Pavilion Is Major Undertaking

As patients move in, leftover equipment will move out to two needy health clinics locally and overseas

Plans are in place to move patients from three inpatient units in Oregon Health & Science University Hospital to the new units in the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion on  Tuesday, June 27, from 7:30 a.m. to about noon.

Although patients will be moved into the new building, much of the equipment will not. It will be heading to Zimbabwe, Africa, and to The Salvation Army Harbor Lights Center in Portland.

For the past several months, a team of about 40 people from many departments have been planning the move.

Nurse managers for the inpatient units have already moved into Kohler Pavilion. They are overseeing placement of equipment and preparing everything needed to get the units operational.

Nurses and support staff have been working to stock and set up the units in preparation for the transfer of patients and for newly admitted patients.

Staff will move patients from OHSU Hospital's two medical-surgical units, 4A and 9C, and the cardiac medical intensive care unit.

"Many people from different areas including inpatient units, facilities and construction management, transportation and respiratory therapy have spent a lot of time planning the logistics of the move to ensure the safety and comfort of patients," said Retty Casey, director of clinical facilities development and the Value Analysis Program.

During patient rounds on Monday, staff will assess each patient to determine the best mode of transportation, for example a wheelchair or a bed. First thing Tuesday morning, staff will re-evaluate the patients to be sure there has been no change in their health status.

The cardiac patients also will be assessed during rounds on Monday and will be transported in new beds from the Kohler Pavilion.

"We did a simulation to see approximately how long it takes to move a patient," Casey said. "Average travel time for patients was seven to 9 1/2 minutes."

Several safeguards have been put in place to ensure the move is as safe and efficient as possible. Hospital administration will open its Incident Command Center, which provides staff a central telephone number to call so any issues that emerge during the move can be promptly addressed and resolved.

Also, special move teams have been organized to facilitate the patient transfers and to be sure that all details are handled properly at both patient care facilities. There will be plenty of transport aides available and ample staff to help patients move and get settled comfortably in their new units.

Selected vendors will be on standby to field questions regarding new equipment and to provide support for new technology. Volunteers will be stationed on the ninth floor of OHSU Hospital to help answer questions and direct family members and visitors to the new inpatient units.

As the patients leave, much of the equipment will also.

Donald Ludwig, program technician for the OHSU Environmental Health and Radiation Safety Department, said he hated seeing all that equipment go to a landfill.

He contacted The Salvation Army, which identified items needed for the Homeless Infirmary Project. The project is for homeless patients who need to be discharged from OHSU Hospital but who still need a place to recover. The infirmary will receive overbed tables, side tables, visitor chairs, office chairs, filing cabinets and 10 hospital beds on Tuesday.

In contacting the City of Portland, Ludwig learned about Provincial Hospital in one of Portland's sister cities, Mutare, Zimbabwe, that had nothing, literally. It has one hospital bed, Ludwig said.

"I felt really bad. They need simple things like forceps, ventilators, defibrillators, microscopes and water basins."

Ludwig and many others at OHSU are raising money to cover the shipping costs to Zimbabwe. In August they plan to ship a 30-foot container of supplies, which will cost approximately $7,000. They will be sending five commodes, a scale, a refrigerator, a sleeper chair, four walkers, two televisions, 20 blood pressure inflation systems, five hospital beds as well as some other needed equipment.

The first surgery in the pavilion's new technically advanced minimally invasive surgical suites will take place on Wednesday, June 28. The suites are twice the size of the three operating rooms they replace. The extra space improves ergonomics and allows the surgical team to maneuver more efficiently and safely.

The first patients were seen Monday, June 26, in the new Center for Women's Health on the seventh floor of the pavilion.


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