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First Look At New UVM Medical Center Building

The first major upgrade to inpatient facilities on the University of Vermont Medical Center campus since the 1980’s is almost complete. Hospital officials recently showed off the state-of-the art building to reporters including WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley.
The 180,000-square foot Robert and Holly Miller Building in Burlington features 128 private single-bed rooms for specialty surgery, cardiology, oncology and orthopedic patients.

Vice President of Hospital Services Dawn LeBaron says the building is the result of several years of intensive collaboration to create a patient and family centered design.  “The purpose of the building is of course to replace our oldest facility. So our goal was to get inpatient care out of a building that’s 60 or 70 years old and the follow on focus to that is to develop across the entire campus  the greatest number of private inpatient rooms. And we know from evidence that single room occupancy is better for the patient, for the family and certainly delivers better outcomes.”
“Alright let’s go in here.”
Peg Gagne:  “I’m Peg Gagne. I’m one of the nursing directors. In terms of the patient room it is quite a departure from what you’ll find in our traditional buildings. We have a caregiver sort of zone that is as you enter the room with everything you need.  This is the patient zone set up with new technology. We have a little I-Pad kind of call bell here to really provide some enhanced call capabilities. So if you’re looking for pain medication or a glass of water it directs the call to the appropriate caregiver. There is also the capability on here to control the lights from the bed. There’s also the capability on this to access their health care record and your typical entertainment.  The third zone in the room is the patient and family zone.  We have a sleeping surface in every room so when family friends want to stay close there’s that capacity.”

Cardiothoracic surgeon and Professor of Surgery Dr. Frank Ittleman has been at the medical center for 45 years and calls the design of this new building a seminal change in patient care.  “There’s going to be a sense of safety, a sense of security, a sense that we can provide efficient care to individuals. The nurses the technicians will be able to do their jobs better. We have a family area where the family can participate in decision making along with the patient which is at the heart of the patient and family centered care which really is what this building is all about.”

UVM Medical Center Interim President Dr. Steven Leffler says adding these  single rooms will increase efficiency throughout the medical center.  “On any given day right now because we have so many double patient rooms we have 30 to 50 blocked beds every single day. And a blocked bed is a bed that if there’s two beds in a room we can’t use one of the beds because the patient in the other bed either has an infectious disease problem or gender issues or behaviorial  health issues. And so we are operating every day at less than peak efficiency. We’re having beds that we can’t use. So while it doesn’t add any capacity to the hospital getting the blocked beds back by having single patient rooms will be a huge advantage for our patients and our providers.”

Every room in the Miller Building is private and has a ceiling lift, windows and a family area.
About 120 patients will be moved into the new $187 million facility on June 1st.