Yale-New Haven Hospital took the first step in its development of a musculoskeletal center on the Saint Raphael Campus last month. On Oct. 14, Richard D'Aquila, president and COO, unveiled the newly refurbished Dr. Robert J. and Lorraine D. Cronin Patient Care Unit.
In the first quarter of 2014, this 29-bed unit located on the fourth floor of Verdi North will begin to welcome and care for orthopedic patients as a first step toward creating the hospital's musculoskeletal center.
After welcoming guests, Michael Holmes, senior vice president, Operations, SRC, noted that this unit "is the first tangible step for a vision of musculoskeletal care that will be like no other in the United States. It will build on our existing strength and our unique partnership with Yale School of Medicine."
Dean Robert Alpern, Yale School of Medicine, picked up on Holmes's comments. "We have a shared vision for turning good clinical programs into great clinical programs. This campus has a strong orthopedic program but I didn't envision a musculoskeletal center," Dr. Alpern told the audience. "Once we discussed it, we jumped on the idea. With the opening of this unit, it is a joy to see it evolve."
One of the first things visitors to the unit will notice is the carpet-like flooring. Called hybrid-resilient flooring, it is a seamless rubberized backing covered with looped nylon that looks very much like textured carpet. It can be cleaned — even bleached — as one would clean a vinyl floor. There are no reported increases in infection rates with the hybrid flooring and it provides the important ability to mask noise. It is used extensively in Greenwich Hospital and will begin to make its way onto other YNHH units where it's appropriate.
Plans for renovating the unit began shortly after integration in September 2012 with contributions from an interdisciplinary team from both campuses. The team worked to bring the best from what was learned in the construction of Smilow Cancer Hospital and prior renovations of units on the York Street Campus. Clinicians contributed to the design of the unit that will treat orthopedic and spine patients and meet their special recovery needs.
Located in a wing of the hospital that was built in 1976, the unit needed downto- the-studs renovation in order to meet today's hospital standards for electrical power demand and delivery of medical gases. Thermal glazed, insulated glass windows replaced the wooden framed ones, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was upgraded, including installing a new air handler on the roof to provide the air flow necessary to meet today's codes. Patient bathrooms were upgraded to meet accessibility standards.
Peter Herbert, MD, chief of staff, complimented the team that had so carefully thought out the design of the new unit. "This unit is great for the Saint Raphael Campus and nursing did a terrific job with the planning," he said. "Today, all patient information is entered into the electronic medical record so it is wonderful to have two documenting centers where clinicians can record in quiet."
The unit also has docking bays where EKG machines and code carts can be stored until needed, keeping the hallways safe and clear of clutter.
Before taking up scissors to cut the ribbon, D'Aquila introduced a volunteer and contributor well known on the Saint Raphael Campus — Lorraine Cronin, after whom the unit is named. "Saint Raphael's is my charity — and it was my husband's," she said. "It makes me happy to make a donation to the hospital I love."