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NeuroNow - A new era for Hopkins neurosciences

NeuroNow Spring 2012

A new era for Hopkins neurosciences

Date: May 3, 2012


Judith Rohde, Adrian Püttgen and Michael Levy
Judith Rohde, Adrian Püttgen (center) and Michael Levy in the building’s new intraoperative MRI suite,which allow neurosurgeons to get up-to- the-minute images during surgery.
photo by Keith Weller

For nearly three decades, Johns Hopkins’ Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery have served their patients from space in the hospital’s Meyer Building, providing care that has made these departments tops in their fields according to U.S. News & World Report rankings. With the move into the hospital’s new clinical building this spring, the neurosciences are pursuing the same missions at an even higher caliber for both patients and physicians, says Neurosurgeon in Chief Henry Brem.

“Having this new space allows us to provide truly patient-centric care,” Brem says. “Every element of the new space has been designed to optimize the experiences of our patients.”

For example, says Judith Rohde, director of nursing for the Neurosciences and Psychiatry Nursing Departments, every patient room in the new building has one bed and its own window, providing privacy and an abundance of natural light for patients and their families. Each room also includes a couch that pulls out into a day bed, allowing a visitor to stay with the patient around the clock.

Additionally, Rohde says, each unit in new space has a family lounge that provides a seating area with a wireless connection and a kitchenette with water and ice, along with a refrigerator, microwave and coffee machine—giving visitors the option to take a break from the patient’s bedside but still remain nearby.

Each unit is also significantly quieter because overhead paging has been eliminated, Rohde adds. Instead, each nurse and doctor carries phones that act as personal paging systems and locators. Members of the nursing care team receive important patient care information instantly on these phones, she says, such as pain medicine requests. Clinical customer service representatives triage messages from patients to the proper care providers to address needs in a timely manner, all while maintaining a tranquil environment for other patients in the unit.

“We really wanted to create a quiet, calm, healing environment,” Rohde explains.

Besides making the patient experience even better, the new building’s design also makes work more efficient for every member of a patient’s care team, says neurology assistant professor Michael Levy. The move has added eight new beds to the 80 that were already in use by the neurosciences, he says, providing neurology and neurosurgery the capacity to care for more patients. Between every two patient rooms is a workstation that allows doctors and nurses to update a patient’s medical records immediately following a visit.

“Now we can actually look at a patient while entering computer data and putting in orders,” Levy says. “Adding everything right in front of the patient isn’t just faster—it could also improve safety by reducing medical errors.”

In addition to these computer terminals outside of patient rooms, the new building also has significantly more workspaces where doctors and nurses can complete other work related to Hopkins’ mission of teaching, research and patient care.

“We’ll be around more because it’s comfortable and convenient to work on that floor,” Levy says. “That means we have more opportunities to have discussions with our patients and families and to respond even faster to emergencies when they arise.”

The new space also helps streamline the process of getting patients to the right care providers quickly, says Adrian Püttgen, assistant professor of neurology, anesthesiology and critical care medicine.

The emergency department is now in the same building as the neurosciences, he explains, a change that shortens the time it takes for critically ill patients to be admitted and seen by neurologists and neurosurgeons. Additionally, the new building has separate elevator banks for visitors, staff and patient transport, providing more efficient paths for both doctors and patients to reach their destinations.

“Neurosciences had a really good setup in the Meyer Building for almost 30 years,” Püttgen says. “Our new units are an opportunity to take it to the next level.”

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