Before a floor plan was even created, GS&P architects, planners and engineers met with hospital staff to understand the operational processes currently taking place throughout the facility, including patient and material flow. GS&P healthcare strategist, Marc Sauvé, led planning studies to review the flow of operations, systems and functionality to create a plan from which department locations and adjacencies could be culled. In the case of Wayne Memorial it was decided to locate all hospital registration—inpatient, outpatient and emergency department—in one place. Marc’s research also helped shape how the staff worked. Hospital administrators were able to implement many of Sauvé’s suggestions while still operating in the old facility.
In the new facility, the operational efficiencies that were planned and designed into the building helped alleviate wait times by 50 minutes in the emergency department. The early process mapping also significantly improved both patient experience and safety. Although the hospital area grew from a one-story building to four stories, travel distances within the hospital and the chance for medical errors have been greatly reduced. Labor and delivery rooms are adjacent to surgical suites, so a need for immediate procedures is not delayed by a long journey through corridors and around corners.
Another important feature that the hospital staff wanted implemented was creating a healing environment for patients. GS&P architects and interior designers included several features that accommodate patients’ families such as kitchens in waiting rooms and a charming outdoor dining venue and a small chapel. Space in the hospice room was doubled. Also a clear delineation between public and private sectors stresses patient dignity and privacy.
An unforeseen challenge to the hospital design team was the sudden rising cost of construction labor and materials. Between the project kickoff and the start of construction, Hurricane Katrina caused the costs to soar nearly 10% higher than expected, putting the project suddenly millions over budget. The architecture and planning teams and the hospital administration worked together to revise the budget and reduce the size of the new building, bringing scope and cost down. This was made possible by the administration’s purchase of a nearby armory, to which they relocated services that don’t directly impact patient care, such as accounting and administration.
The new hospital was built on the same location as the old facility, which created a hurdle for design and construction. Its location near a major state highway and convenience to the community was a key driver in the decision to use the same site, but keeping the existing hospital functional while building a new facility required major coordination and careful planning. Joe Ierardi, Wayne Memorial Hospital’s President and CEO, recalls, “People expect me to tell them this project was a huge headache, but it wasn’t because we had experts with us. We put our trust in them, and in our employees, and all parties delivered.”
Even with the challenges, Wayne Memorial Hospital moved into their new facility ahead of schedule, with the transfer to the new facility occurring in September 2007. The partnership between GS&P and the hospital staff produced a facility that residents of Jesup, Georgia, will be proud of for many years to come.