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Presbyterian Rust Medical Center ready to open

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Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 5:20 pm, Thu Oct 20, 2011.

The decade of work on Presbyterian Rust Medical Center has brought about innovations in neonatal intensive care, efficiency in nurses' work and more, designers say.

The new hospital's grand opening is set for Saturday, and Director of Innovation Doug Johnson said the only service Presbyterian Rust doesn't offer is pediatric inpatient care.

Project Manager Robert Thoesen said all employees would be trained in innovation. Johnson said an "innovation lab," where people could study better ways to deliver health care, is also part of the hospital.

Presbyterian Rust has a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, so local babies don't have to go to Albuquerque. Cutting the time a Rio Rancho or Bernalillo mother with a premature baby spends driving to the hospital gives her more time to spend with the infant, Thoesen said.

"And that's good for the baby, too, to have mom there," he continued.

All NICU rooms house one baby, or a set of twins.

"That's not the kind of experience you want to share with others," Thoesen said.

Johnson said premature babies are also vulnerable to infection, making the typical group nursery undesirable.

Also, Presbyterian spokeswoman Niki Craig said the hospital offers non-traditional birthing methods. Although water births aren't available, each maternity room has a bathtub, so expectant mothers can soak to lessen pain from contractions.

Johnson said the emergency room is designed to move patients through one of two systems - acute care and lower-level care - without sending them back to the waiting room.

For the lower-level care, the ER has two tracks, each where a doctor and other staff handle three beds and place patients in rooms based on how long their care is going to take, Johnson said. Patients with more serious health problems are treated in a separate area until they leave or are admitted to the hospital.

Johnson said every adult patient room in the hospital houses one person and can be converted to give ICU care. Each room also has a shower and a sleeper couch.

"There are no (specific) visiting hours," Johnson said, adding that an infection problem would cause the only exception to that practice.

Hospital leaders want patients' families there because they're important, he said.

The hospital has a family lounge with big windows on each floor. Craig said good views from family and patient waiting rooms help distract visitors from worries.

Johnson said he videotaped nurses at work and found they spent 40 percent of their time traveling around the hospital. Presbyterian Rust's design decreases nurses' travel time by 150 miles per year, he said.

"How we did that: We bring everything to the nurse," Johnson said.

There are medical supply closets on every corner and in every operating and maternal labor room, keeping the nurses near their patients. Each patient room also has a computer for nurses to use.

All rooms except post-partum rooms have patient lifts, Johnson said. He said the lifts reduce nurse back injuries by 100 percent, and Thoesen said they prevent patients from being embarrassed by needing several people to lift them.

Presbyterian Rust also features a variety of energy-saving devices, enough to make it the first hospital in the nation to win the Energy Star Award, Johnson said. He said the medical center's design brings natural lighting into many areas, including those of the large operating rooms, as well.

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