In the previous blog entry, we took a quick look at the Emergency Wing of the conceptual floorplan. Today, I'd like to focus on the Acute Care/Swing Bed wing.
Acute Care is designated for patients who are admitted for short-term medical treatment of an illness or injury, while Swing Bed refers to the program which serves patients needing longer-term medical treatment of an illness or rehabilitation of an injury. Each of these services will be located in the conceptual Acute wing (above in the teal-ish blue color), as they are currently in the WMC facility.
The current WMC building actually has eight rooms designated for Acute Care. So why is there only four in the above conceptual, one may ask? Well, to put it simply - WMC rarely needs that many.
Looking at the 2017 usage, the average daily census for acute and swing was just 2.2 patients per day. So if we round up and take the average, five of the rooms are vacant throughout the year.
Sure, those numbers shoot up a bit in the summer months. As Wrangell's population increases with seasonal workers and visitors, so does the WMC traffic. July, Aug. and Sept. sees more than a 50% increase of inpatient/swing customers. Even during those months, we're averaging about 3.5 patients per day. For the most part, nine months out of the year, we could just about operate with a couple of acute rooms. Rarely do we ever see five or more patients.
So the solution for this concept design was simple - create enough patient rooms to serve the average number of patients, but prepare for the rare occasions when a surge in patients require additional beds. In the conceptual, each of the four designated rooms can be flexed to fit two patients.
One of the four rooms will be a negative pressure room, allowing ventilation in, but not out of the area. This is where any patients with airborne infections will be located and cared for.
Each room will feature a bathroom. No real news there, except that these bathrooms will be ADA compliant. A big step up from the current rooms, which are undersized with doors too small for wheelchair entrance.
I think the important facts to take away from this potential design are A.) the rooms will be larger, including the bathroom, and B.) they're not going to build above our current needs.
Just being new is going to be a massive upgrade. Not just because of the finishings and furnishings that will be included, but being up to code will provide more room to care for the patients. It will also leave more room for visitors, as friends and family are a part of the recovery process.
It's also important to understand that not designing above our current needs does not mean we're getting painted into a corner size-wise. Wold has been instructed to design with potential expansion in mind. In acute care's case, the wing can be extended West to easily fit four more rooms, as depicted in the photo below:
The entire conceptual presented during the Feasibility Update meetings allows for future expansion of the campus, if needed. Each area has room to expand out, as upward additions to include another level isn't cost effective. If Wrangell keeps growing, our data may show we need more rooms. Or if WMC proves to be an attractive spot for Swing Bed patients from all areas to heal up, the need for expansion could be there.