The exterior of Kootenai Health has transformed dramatically since breaking ground on the new east expansion in August of 2014. The new building, totaling 100,000 square feet, will not only provide more space to care for patients, but also free up space in the existing facility for future expansion and renovations. The facility opens to patients and public on Tuesday, March 15.
“As our patient population continues to grow, we will continue to increase our level of service,” Jon Ness, CEO, said. “Seeing more patients and receiving more referrals from other communities are good indicators that our strategic plan to be a comprehensive, regional medical center is on target.”
The patient-centric design includes a convenient drive-up entrance leading into a modern and comfortable lobby and reception area. This is the first time in the hospital’s history that patients will have a formal front entrance and lobby. Patients and visitors also have access to a peaceful healing garden and courtyard to get fresh air and find some privacy.
“The expansion was designed with both our patients and staff in mind,” Derek Miller, director of Facility Planning and Property Management, said. “We want to provide a peaceful healing environment for our patients, while also providing our staff the tools and resources they need to do their jobs more effectively.”
Front Entrance and Lobby
The new main entrance is located on the north side of the building. It offers a covered patient drop-off and pick-up area as well as free valet parking. The first thing patients and visitors see as they enter the new lobby is a reception station. Here, a guest services staff member will greet visitors, providing an opportunity to get directions and ask questions.
The lobby will also include a new patient registration area. This will provide a convenient place for patients coming in for scheduled procedures to register and allow the current registration area, located on the south side of the main hospital, to focus on emergency patients.
On the west side of the lobby, visitors may notice a staircase. This will eventually lead to an updated waiting area that will serve the soon-to-be expanded surgical suite.
Family Birth Center
The area just off the lobby is the Family Birth Center. Comprised of labor and delivery, post-partum and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the unit was designed to provide a calm, private experience for new families. The design features more nurses’ stations and private rooms to help maintain a quiet, restful atmosphere.
There are now 10 labor and delivery rooms (compared to six in the former birth center), each with jetted tubs and upgraded technology. Just down the hall are 18 post-partum rooms (up from 12). These rooms are also much larger, private and offer amenities like large windows, a comfortable sleeper-sofa, and a refrigerator.
“The new patient rooms are nearly twice the size of the existing rooms,” Miller said. “This allows the mother and baby to be together while also accommodating visitors.”
The new NICU consists of 12 rooms, with two of them equipped to handle twins if needed. Infants each have their own room with the latest technology available.
“Five years ago we didn’t have a neonatal intensive care unit,” Kimberly Judd, M.D., neonatologist, said. “Now we can provide care for infants as young as 28 weeks gestation and as small as 1,000 grams, or about 2.2 pounds.”
Second Floor, Orthopedics and Neurology
The second floor of the expansion is dedicated to orthopedics and neurology. All of the new patient rooms are 40 percent larger with amenities for patient education, communication and entertainment. Much like the Family Birth Center rooms, the layout of the second floor is designed to reduce noise and streamline care. It includes 32 rooms split between five nurses’ stations.
The second floor connects to the existing hospital via three hallways, making transporting patients between buildings easier. The rooms have large windows with beautiful views.
“We’ve said from the beginning that we hope to bring the outside in,” Miller said. “This will help promote relaxation and healing for our patients.”
The orthopedic department will host the Total Joint Program and include a special rehabilitation gym for joint replacement patients.
Patient Interactive Care Boards
Each patient room has a TV that also serves as a digital communication hub for patients, families and care team members. The Interactive Care boards, as they are called, digitally display up-to-date and personalized care plan information that is easy to navigate and understand.
These interactive care boards show important patient information, identify who makes up the patient’s medical team, and tracks medications and other care statistics. The system also houses educational videos about procedures and ailments, provides instructions for home care and offers entertainment such as TV, movies and games.
Plans to expand the system to the main hospital are underway.
To learn more about the hospital expansion and see photos and virtual tours, visit kh.org/expansion.