Metro-East News

You’ll like what you see at the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital

From left: Project Director Susan Beeler and CEO and President Peg Sebastian outside the new St. Elizabeth's Hospital in O'Fallon.
From left: Project Director Susan Beeler and CEO and President Peg Sebastian outside the new St. Elizabeth's Hospital in O'Fallon.

A hospital stay with a view — that’s what most patients at the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon will experience once the facility opens in the fall of 2017.

Most patient rooms are located purposely to allow them to have large picturesque windows. “We tried to give the patients the best view,” said Sue Beeler, director of construction management for St. Elizabeth’s.

Hospital CEO Peg Sebastian said, “We choose to do that for patients.”

Who will get the best view? Patients working to get better in the inpatient rehabilitation gym.

“This is inspirational,” Beeler said of the view, which overlooks the lake near the Regency Conference Center. The fitted glass used in the windows will keep the sun beams at bay.

“They have the best rooms in the house,” she said of extended stay patients rooming on the fifth floor.

Sebastian said: “We want to give them the best incentive to work hard.”

A $253 million replacement hospital is currently under construction off Green Mount Road to replace the aging hospital in downtown Belleville. The new hospital will have 144 beds; the current hospital has 303 beds.

Beeler estimated the building was a little more than 50 percent completed.

Sebastian said she expects the Hospital Sisters Health System, which owns the hospital, to take possession of the building next summer, with the hospital opening in the fall.

A lot of thought went into the layout of the new hospital.

When visitors walk into the main entrance, they can take a stroll down main street — a large main hallway, which allows visitors to easily navigate the hospital.

The hospital cafe and gift shop will be located on this “main street,” which will be lined with tables, chairs and couches.

Departments patients frequently visit are also off the main corridor including radiology and cardiology.

Outside the hospital, visitors will be able to walk down a sidewalk from the main entrance to the ambulatory care entrance.

A medical office building, which is attached to the new hospital, is also currently under construction.

400 workers on site at new hospital under construction in O’Fallon

$253 million cost of the new hospital

344,000 square feet

Updated emergency department

The emergency department will have a separate entrance. It includes a two-bay garage for ambulances to allow patients to be brought into the hospital out of the elements of weather.

Near the ambulance bay area is a decontamination room. “It keeps them segmented away from the rest of the patients,” Sebastian said if a patient would need to be decontaminated.

Patients seen in the emergency room who need more observation but don’t need to be admitted will be treated in 10 rooms available in what’s being called the clinical decision unit.

The emergency department includes a large trauma room, which would accommodate a child patient and their parents. “It’s better for the family,” Sebastian said.

There’s also two other trauma rooms in the emergency department with a large door between them, where a doctor can stand and oversee the treatment of multiple patients during a mass casualty situation.

“A physician could give two different orders for two different patients at the same time,” Beeler said.

The new emergency department will also have a room for routine procedures like stitches and a OBGYN room, which ER nurses requested for female patients who may have miscarried to give them privacy as they grieve.

The bathrooms for patient rooms were put together in a barn near the construction site and then moved into the hospital and put in place.

Safety enhancements

The emergency room will have four behavioral health rooms, where patients can be held for up to 23 hours.

“Behavior health continues to be an issue,” Sebastian said.

To ensure patient and visitor safety, the area can be shut down if need be. “You want to treat them with dignity and respect but protect the other patient populace, too,” Sebastian said.

The behavior health rooms are designed specifically to keep patients safe with nothing available for them to harm themselves.

“It’s a decent environment that’s safe for them.” Sebastian said.

The new hospital will have three primary entrances for patients — the ER, the main entrance and the ambulatory care entrance. This is greatly reduced from the 16 entrances the current hospital has in Belleville.

Patients admitted to the hospital will be discharged in an area in the back of the hospital to ensure patient privacy. “Most hospital don’t have this type of set-up,” Sebastian said, referring to the size of the campus.

The front of the hospital will feature a rose garden as well as other landscaping to enhance the natural beauty of the area, according to Sebastian.

‘Surgical home’

Instead of having to visit multiple departments during a hospital visit, a person getting outpatient surgery can go to the “surgical home” department of the new hospital, where they can get blood drawn, anesthesia, and imagery like an EKG.

Beeler described it as a “one-stop shop.”

The surgery unit of the new hospital has 47 prep and hold rooms for patients. “This more than doubles we have we (currently),” Sebastian said.

In between every two rooms is a shared bathroom. Beeler said once a patient enters the shared bathroom, both doors automatically lock. In the case of an emergency, a nurse can push a button to unlock the door.

The 10 operating rooms are “gigantic,” Sebastian said.

There’s also a hybrid operating room, which has imagery equipment. This room will be used for specialized heart and vascular cases, Sebastian said.

The cardiac catherization labs, electrophysiology labs and a vascular suite will be all located in the same area of the new hospital. Sebastian said the hospital is taking a team approach when it comes to treating cardiovascular patients.

“We want to bring all these specialists together to work on the patient,” she said.

The chapel at the new hospital will have 22-foot high ceilings, and the hospital will have two fireplaces — one in the main entrance and one in the cafeteria.

Bedside nurses

Throughout the new hospital, nurses won’t have to travel far away from a patient to get what they need.

Nurses will have a workstation inside every patient’s room as well as one outside every two patient rooms. The patient rooms have indoor windows, which allow nurses to observe patients without disturbing them.

“We want to get the nurses back at the bedside,” Beeler said.

Sebastian said: “You won’t find big nursing stations here or big staff lounges.”

To get supplies, nurses don’t have to trek to utility rooms. There will be nurse servers where supplies will be stored. Beeler said the nurses who work on a particular floor will decide what supplies they will need in these storage areas.

Sebastian praised the design of the new hospital’s maternity ward and how the rooms will look like “beautiful” bedrooms instead of hospital rooms. “It doesn’t look clinical,” she said.

Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of HSHS, said the health system is pleased with the progress of the project and “appreciate the outstanding work by everyone involved in building what will be a state-of-art medical facility. We are also very excited about what our new medical campus will mean for our patients who live in the metro-east and Southern Illinois.”

James Dover, president and CEO of HSHS Southern Illinois Divisio, added, “The new HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital will provide residents from across the region with easier access to the newest and most technologically advanced hospital in Southern Illinois.”

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe