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Dome - The home stretch

April 2012

The home stretch

Date: April 11, 2012

As the opening of the new clinical buildings quickly approaches, frontline staff practices for the patient move.


At 8 a.m. sharp, Robin Hunt, new clinical buildings planning and activation manager, runs through final details before the move begins.
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At 8 a.m. sharp, Robin Hunt, new clinical buildings planning and activation manager, runs through final details before the move begins.

A health care facility the scope of the Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center doesn’t open with a mere flip of a switch. It takes countless hours of preparation by the dedicated staff who will deliver top-notch patient- and family-centered care in the new clinical buildings. This article is the second of three in a series capturing a momentous chapter in the history of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, from final preparations for opening day to a look back at how the hospital fared as staff and patients moved into the state-of-the-art new towers.

On Halsted 7, a kinetic sense of purpose fills the air as caregivers on the cardiovascular surgical intensive care unit ready to move an acutely ill patient to the unit’s new home in the Sheikh Zayed Tower. His belongings are packed, his medications and IV fluids are ready, and his identification and “Ticket to Ride” are confirmed for transport.

The patient’s “sending team” gathers for a brief premove huddle at 11:05 a.m., then radios a departure time of 11:15 a.m. to the command center, where clinicians, security personnel and administrators are monitoring all patient moves from the existing hospital to the new clinical buildings.

 Because the patient is sedated and on a ventilator, his move has been assigned to a clinician transport team from anesthesia and critical care medicine. The team arrives at 11:20 a.m. and departs at 11:30 a.m. with the patient in his bed, along with a welter of medical devices and a small phalanx of clinicians who will monitor his condition en route.

At first, all runs smoothly. But when the transport team reaches the Halsted elevators, it takes a disconcerting minute to maneuver the patient, his ventilator, oxygen tank, monitor, IV pole and medical entourage into the deep but narrow space.

Emerging from the elevator, the transport team, with calm urgency, zigzags through a maze of corridors to a connector between the old and new buildings. Without further incident, the group arrives at Zayed 5, where a receiving care team staff settles the patient into a sunny, yellow room.

 Another “mock patient” move is complete.

Hopkins Hospital administrators, clinicians, support staff and an outside consultant have devoted more than two years to preparing for the April 29-30 move of approximately 360 patients to the Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center. But no plan, regardless of how thorough, can anticipate every potential snag. That’s why the patient move executive group scheduled two comprehensive mock moves in February and March. Taking part were clinicians and support staff who stuck to a condensed version of the schedule they will follow on the actual move days.

The cardiovascular surgical intensive care unit exercise was among dozens of dry runs recently performed by units from across The Johns Hopkins Hospital on Feb. 17. The move drill featured a cast of mock patients, such as the temporarily ventilated volunteer Jordan Robinson, a student in the Master of Health Administration program at the Bloomberg School.

The simulation exercises gave all participants and the patient move executive group  an opportunity to identify and correct flaws in a process designed, above all, with patients’ safety in mind.

In a debriefing after the first mock move, participants and planners agreed that fixing the elevator logjam was a priority and proposed a solution. When cardiovascular surgical intensive care unit patients are moved on April 29, the transport team will also include members of Johns Hopkins Lifeline’s in-house transport service, all trained in the art of the tight squeeze.

This photographic narrative chronicles the whirlwind of activities, conversations and complications arising in the course of the mock patient move that took place on February 17.

—Stephanie Shapiro

Photos by Monica Lopossay

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