MOSES LAKE — So - when building a new hospital, what’s the best way to set up a patient room? What’s the best way to set up an operating room, or the entrance at the emergency room? For that matter, what’s the best way to set up the ER?
Samaritan Hospital administrators and employees, along with community members, started working out answers to those questions with cardboard and medical equipment in an empty storefront at the intersection of Beech Street and West Broadway Avenue last week. The conclusions reached through the workshop will be used to refine the design of the proposed new hospital.
Samaritan commissioners approved construction of a new hospital in April and hired the architectural firm of ZGF (Zimmer, Gunsul, Frasca) to help design the new building. Last week’s workshop used pieces of cardboard to build full-size mockups of prospective designs for different areas of the hospital.
The goal was to take the information gathered at the April workshop and translate it into full-size spaces, to see if it worked and how to improve it. “Is this room going to work with everything we could possibly do?” said Desiree Hamilton, peri-operative services director. Similar questions were asked about the operating room design. “Is this room big enough to do every possible surgery we could do?” Hamilton asked.
The patient room had a full-size hospital bed and chairs, with pictures of instruments hanging on the walls to indicate where they would - or could, that’s still to be decided - fit in the room. Similar layouts were built for other rooms.
Officials also were trying to figure out where and how the various spaces should fit together, said Gretchen Youngren, the hospital’s director of development and communications. They were also trying to figure out the most efficient way to build a room without affecting other important functions. She cited an example from the patient rooms - as the groups worked on the layout, they discovered the most efficient location for the bathroom blocked part of the windows.
It’s a very exciting process, Youngren said, but it’s also intimidating - the decisions made today will affect the operation of a building designed to last at least a half-century.
The conclusions reached at last week’s workshop will go back to the architects, who will incorporate them into an updated design, which will be tested at the next workshop in July.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at email@example.com.