December 5, 2014

The Intricacies of a Patient Move

How many resources does it take to plan a patient move? This is not a brain teaser. It’s a question that Saint Joseph Hospital leaders asked themselves early in the planning process for the new hospital. While they didn’t have an exact estimate, they knew they needed to start the planning process early, to have enough time to conduct a mock patient move and to make adjustments before the big day on December 13, 2014.

June 2013: Patient Move Planning Begins

About a year and a half ago a core patient move team of 80 people representing every department in the hospital began meeting monthly. At this meeting they began developing a special patient move manual with more than 60 chapters, plus content related to issues such as Code Blue, move teams and move routes. Sub-teams also met monthly to address every chapter in the manual. The main goal: Keep all patients and employees safe during the move. Throughout the planning process, the team had assumptions they followed and considered every detail of the moving, including ambulance transportation for isolation patients, how to move the code carts in stages to cover both the old and new hospital on the same day, where to have family members wait while their loved ones were being transported, and countless other factors.

Lessons from a Mock Move

In preparation for the new hospital opening, Saint Joseph conducted a mock patient move on October 25.Saturday, October 25, was Mock Move Day for the hospital. Hundreds of employees, physicians and volunteers participated in the event, including 26 volunteer patients, 12 volunteer family members, and staff and physicians from every unit. Overall, the move went well, but, as always, there were some important lessons learned. For example, they realized that the command center in the old hospital needed to be restructured so the people telling the units when to begin moving a patient could have a quieter environment to do their work. They also needed more practice with the radios and better signage along the move route.

Gearing up for Move Day

With just over one week left before the new hospital opens and the patients are moved, final details are being worked out. The 125-page patient move manual has been printed, and excitement is building. While no one knows exactly how many patients will be moved on December 13, the plan anticipates up to 200 patients. All hands will be on deck to make sure the move is successful, including the National Jewish Health hospitalists, critical care specialists and Cystic Fibrosis team.