A Healthy Outlook | Art in the Garden | Pipe Dreams

A Healthy Outlook

Story by jeffery Westhoff | Photography by Joe Rush

Advocate Good Shepherd’s major renovation prepares hospital for the
future of patient care.

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Since Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital opened 35 years ago, health care practices in America have significantly evolved. More people are undergoing outpatient procedures, with fewer patients requiring overnight stays. Those who are admitted overnight have come to expect private rooms. Meanwhile, more surgeries call for high-tech devices that can cramp the operating rooms designed decades ago. And modern medical centers have been adding open spaces and warm colors to escape the sterile, institutional look that defined hospitals in the 20th century.

Advocate Good Shepherd recently began a $200 million renovation and expansion project that won’t just bring the hospital up to present expectations; it looks to the future and should carry the medical campus through the first half of the 21st century. Groundbreaking ceremonies were in October, and by the time the modernization project is finished in 2017, it will affect nearly every hospital department. “This is the largest since the inception of the hospital,” says Advocate Good Shepherd President Karen Lambert. “The modernization project ensures that care delivery and health outcomes remain outstanding and attuned to the evolving needs of the communities we are privileged to serve.”

Construction crews will add 230,000 square feet to the hospital and renovate another 150,000 square feet. “The modernization project encompasses almost the entire hospital,” says Dr. Barry Rosen, a surgeon who is also Good Shepherd’s vice president of medical management.

“Doing this [renovation] allows us to rethink everything we do,” says Registered Nurse Marianne Araujo, the hospital’s vice president for nursing. “We want to be the best place for patients to heal, for people to work, and for physicians to practice.”

Greg Werner, a Barrington resident who is the principal in charge of the project for the general contractor, Mortenson Construction, says the modernization “is going to create a much better experience for Advocate’s customers, patients, and staff.”

Primary features of the renovation include converting all inpatient rooms to private rooms. Four new inpatient units will be constructed, an intensive care unit, and three medical/surgical units, for a total of 176 beds. This inpatient center will be new construction added to the hospital on the north side, farthest away from Route 22. The current entrance to the Wayne and Patricia Kocourek Family Cardiac Care Center will become the entrance to the new inpatient center.

Outpatient services, also known as ambulatory care, will be consolidated and moved to the front of the hospital. The hospital’s dramatic new entrance – a two-story, curved glass façade leading to a bright atrium – will welcome visitors to the outpatient center. It is not a coincidence outpatient services are being moved front and center. Health service in America is trending toward ambulatory care, Lambert says. “What we’re finding is that fewer patients are being admitted and more are being treated through outpatient care,” she says. The modernization plans reflect that direction. “It’s really a look forward,” Lambert says.

“We’re creating a better patient experience in our outpatient area, which is where health care is going,” says Allison Wyler, Good Shepherd’s executive sponsor for the modernization project. “I truly believe we are building the hospital of the future.”

Elsewhere, eight new operating rooms will be built, each large enough to accommodate modern equipment. A new testing center will bring together services such as X-rays, stress tests, and electrocardiograms. It will be adjacent to a new radiology department. These areas will be easily accessible to the outpatient and inpatient areas. Uniting common services in a common place will make hospital service more efficient, which health care reform is also making a trend. “It helps realign the hospital from a service and efficiency perspective,” Lambert says.

Other features of the renovation will be a consultation area for patients with chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure or diabetes. A new breast center will be moved to the first floor to be part of outpatient services but with its own area to ensure privacy. Two rehabilitation areas, for physical rehabilitation and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, will be integrated into a new space. The inpatient orthopedic unit will also have a dedicated rehab gym, which Lambert calls “one of the things I’m really most excited about.” She adds, “Good Shepherd performs a lot of orthopedic surgeries.”

Hospital areas that will be moved and redesigned to make room for the new outpatient services center include administrative offices and the chapel, while a dedicated conference area will be added. Currently, seminars and lectures take place in the cafeteria. The new conference area underlines the hospital’s commitment to community education, Lambert says. “We believe community education on health is an important part of our mission.”

The benefits of privacy

With the many changes that will come before the project’s 2017 completion date, hospital officials agree the upgrade to all single-occupancy inpatient rooms will be the most beneficial. Lambert says that recent studies demonstrate patients heal faster in a private room. “It’s really an expectation,” she says, “and it’s the right thing to do from a health care perspective.”

Private rooms also make it easier for hospitals to control infections. “The infection aspect is very critical,” says Dr. Thomas Meyer, past president of the Good Shepherd medical staff. “The acuity of patient illness has increased over the years,” he says. “Patients who do wind up in the hospital, as in admitted, are generally sicker.”

Today, if a patient with the flu is admitted to Good Shepherd, no other patient will be allowed to use the room for fear of infection. Consequently, the hospital has a bed that must remain empty. An influx of flu patients could mean that some would have to be sent to a hospital with available beds.

Patients may not realize the preventative-care benefits of the new rooms, but they immediately will appreciate the privacy. “If there is a time of your life when you would benefit from privacy, it’s when you’re sick and in the hospital,” Dr. Rosen says.

Health professionals tending to the patients will appreciate the newfound privacy just as much. Dr. Rosen says physicians often have to discuss intimate details with a patient. “To do that with a stranger in the room is really very awkward, for patient and doctor both,” he says. “There’s nothing soundproof about a little curtain between two beds.”

The rooms will be larger, with more light and brighter décor. “The rooms will be beautiful,” Araujo says. Families will have a greater opportunity to participate in patient care, she notes. They will be more comfortable in the bigger room and will not have to leave when nurses visit the stranger on the other side of the partition. “Staying connected with family is a good thing,” Araujo says.

For nurses, the larger rooms will bring several improvements to patient care. The current rooms are so small that common supplies are stored elsewhere and a nurse must leave the room to fetch them. The new rooms will have plenty of storage. “The things that nurses need to administer routine care will be in the room,” Araujo says.

The bigger rooms also will accommodate equipment to administer electrocardiogram and respiratory tests, as well as some radiology therapies at the bedside. “We want to move these procedures and tests to the room,” Araujo says. “It’s a patient-centered model.”

Currently, nurses must move the patient to other parts of the hospital for tests. “If you’re moving people three times looking for the right place for them, that’s three more moves we won’t ever have to make again,” Araujo says. As a result, patients will spend more time resting in their beds and nurses will spend less time pushing wheelchairs. “The nurse will really be working with the patient at the bedside rather than the desk,” Araujo says.

The new inpatient rooms are modeled on those at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, which converted to all private rooms as part of a renovation three years ago. Lambert cites this as a benefit of belonging to Advocate and learning from best practices across the system.

When Good Shepherd began planning for exclusively private rooms six years ago, the forecast was that hospitals would see more inpatient admissions. However, the trend has since changed toward a greater emphasis in outpatientservices. “Frankly, this is a different project than it would have been a couple years ago,” Lambert says. “Six years ago we would have added quite a few beds.” Good Shepherd is now adding only seven new beds, all in the intensive care unit. “As we are in an aging community,” Lambert says, “we continue to see growth in that area.”

Room to Operate

Physicians and nurses also are looking forward to the eight new operating rooms. “Our operating rooms are dated and a little too small,” says Dr. Meyer, who practices obstetrics and gynecology and uses the operating rooms to deliver babies. “We need bigger operating rooms to fit the new technology.”

Forty years ago, hospital planners did not foresee the rise of such high-tech equipment as surgical robots and extra monitors that take up prime operating-room real estate. “The number of things supported from the ceiling of an operating room is kind of mind boggling,” says Werner of Mortenson Construction.

“Bigger is better when it comes to the operating room,” Dr. Meyer says. “We already have the tech; it’s just hard to fit it into the rooms.”

Dr. Rosen adds, “The physical size of the operating room doesn’t accommodate the size of the equipment we use to provide minimally invasive surgery.” Although Good Shepherd has a surgical robot, “There are only a handful of rooms that can fit the robot right now,” Dr. Rosen says. When the renovation is complete, all operating rooms will be able to accommodate the robot and other equipment.

While one goal of the modernization project is to offer patients the latest state-of-the-art care, another goal is to make it easier for patients to navigate that care. This is why outpatient services and testing are being consolidated into their own spaces, while inpatient services get their own section of the hospital. The modernization project should eliminate the need for patients to travel about the hospital seeking different services, or to register for preoperative care in one department and for postoperative care in another. “Today that can be in three or four different parts of the hospital,” Lambert says, “and that is not an efficient way.”

Planning for Better Care

Throughout the planning process, Lambert says hospital staff asked, “How can we make sure we can bring the services right to the patient versus having the patient walk throughout the hospital?” She adds, “There’s a lot of interactive planning that happened during this process which will ensure that it’s going to function well.”

All levels of hospital workers – physicians, nurses, administrators, lab workers, custodians, and others – were called into the planning process. Lambert says, “We are truly blessed to have physicians and associates here who are really committed. They have been willing to get involved.”

Dr. Meyer’s term as president of the medical staff ended in December, but he was in that role as blueprints were finalized and physicians had monthly meetings with architects from the firm of HOK. “I would say we were very active in the areas of our concern,” Dr. Meyer says. “Physicians were interested in how the ORs turned out.”

“A critical part of this modernization project,” Dr. Rosen adds, “was having our physicians involved every step of the way.”

“One of the things I value,” Araujo says, “is we really brought front-line employees, front-line doctors, into the process of deciding what would make it a better work environment and what would make it better for the patients. … We engaged front-line staff to answer the question, ‘What’s best for the patient?’”

The question was asked with the Good Shepherd community in mind. “This is a community of people with high expectations,” Araujo says, “and we’re building to meet those reasonably high expectations of our care.”

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital serves a large geographic area with more than 500,000 people in 10 communities, including Barrington, Wauconda, Cary, and Fox River Grove. They live in Cook, Lake, and McHenry counties, as well as a small portion of Kane County.

Rooted in the Community

Good Shepherd is a community hospital borne of its community. Its beginnings can be traced to the 1960s when citizens groups (mostly women) from Barrington, Cary, Fox River Grove, and Lake Zurich came together to demand a hospital in their area. The combined auxiliary raised funds as plans for the hospital worked their way through the bureaucracy. In 1973, the hospital gained a home when Quaker Oats donated 80 acres of land from its research farm on Route 22. Groundbreaking in the former cornfield was in September 1976, and the hospital opened in October 1979. “This truly is a community hospital in every sense of the word,” Dr. Rosen says.

Hospital officials are gratified that the community has continued to serve Good Shepherd, a nonprofit hospital, throughout its history. “We consider ourselves blessed,” Dr. Rosen says, “that many members of the community give not only just their money, but their time to help us develop a world-class hospital.”

Lambert says most of the finances for the modernization project will come from Advocate, but the hospital has set a goal of $25 million in volunteer donations to help pay for the reconstruction. Already, donors have pledged $18 million. “They’ve been incredibly generous in supporting this project,” Lambert says.

The only parts of the hospital that will remain largely untouched by the modernization project will be the emergency and obstetrics departments and the Kocourek Family Cardiac Care Center.

Although some parking lots will be temporarily closed during the construction, there will still be plenty of parking (Lambert encourages visitors to use the free valet parking). The hospital will remain open throughout the four-year duration. “All services will continue without interruption,” Lambert says.

“We are ultimately adding on to the hospital and renovating while the hospital is functioning,” Werner says. “They can’t shut down.” He acknowledges this brings challenges to the construction team. Work crews must reduce the noise, vibration, and dust normally associated with large construction projects. Excessive vibration could be bad news in an operating room during surgery, Werner notes.

Prior to construction, the hospital and contractors set up monitors throughout the hospital, then simulated noises such as power saws and jackhammers. “We did a detailed sound and disruption and vibration test in conjunction with Mortenson,” says Wyler, who is the liaison between construction teams and Good Shepherd administrators. Those tests showed the noise and vibrations would not impede hospital operations. The testing devices will remain in place throughout construction. “We are monitoring vibration and sound to make sure what we’re doing isn’t causing too much disruption,” Werner says.

He adds that temporary partitions will be built around construction crews to “encapsulate” them and baffle noise and vibrations. “It’s very different from a painter putting up a sheet of plastic.”

A Brighter Nature

Besides the improvements that will make a hospital visit flow more smoothly for patients, the project also includes green initiatives that, besides making the hospital more energy efficient (see sidebar), will also make the campus more aesthetically pleasing. The hospital’s prairie setting will get back to its roots. “Instead of putting down cookie-cutter landscaping,” Wyler says, “we’re going to be adding plants that are native to the area.” Lambert adds, “We really would like to go back to some more natural settings.”

The hospital will gain two green roofs – roofs covered with grass and plants – that will reduce energy costs and will have another benefit. “Both of those green roofs are going to be visible from patients’ rooms,” Wyler says. This will promote healing, Araujo adds: “The opportunity of being able to see a thing that’s full of life … is another way of telling patients they are important to us.”

Besides exterior changes, plans call for brightening the hospital’s interior not only with warmer shades of paint, but with bigger windows. The glass-fronted entrance hall is the most obvious example, but the architects sought ways to let the sunshine in throughout the hospital. “The amount of natural light that we’ve going to have flowing into this facility is going to be exponential from what we have today,” Wyler says, “and that is going to contribute to a healing environment.”

Although completion of the full modernization is four years off, individual departments will open at intervals during the process. The consolidated testing center is scheduled to open this summer. A new endoscopy lab will open in May 2015. The inpatient units with their private rooms will open in early 2016. The two rehab areas, along with the chronic care center, will open in July 2016. Imaging and central sterile processing will be finished in January 2017, with the whole project wrapping up at the end of that year.

The modernization project will turn Good Shepherd into a more attractive, more efficient, and more technologically advanced hospital. But despite the major changes ahead, officials do not believe modernization will alter Good Shepherd’s underlying nature. “It’s really just the right size,” Dr. Rosen says. “It’s big enough that we can provide comprehensive services, but not so big that we lose the personal touch.”

As the project continues, Lambert is eager to see how it will improve patient care for the surrounding area. “I feel blessed to be in a community like this that is so supportive and a system [Advocate] that supports the modernization of Good Shepherd and really sees the need and benefit.”

“This is a very, very exciting project,” Lambert concludes. “Just talk to anyone within the walls of the hospital and you’ll hear about it.”

For information and updates regarding Good Shepherd’s construction project, visit www.advocatehealth.com/GoodShepherdModernization.

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Local Oversight for the Construction Project

As head of Mortenson Construction’s Chicago-area office, Greg Werner has overseen such health care construction projects as the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago and additions to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates.

Mortenson was selected as the general contractor for Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s modernization project in April 2012, handing Werner, a Barrington resident, the opportunity to participate in a major construction job in his own backyard. “It was personally very satisfying to get selected to do such a large project for what I consider to be my hometown,” Werner says.

Werner and his family moved to Barrington 14 years ago when he transferred to Mortenson’s Elk Grove Village office from Wisconsin. A vice president and general manager with Mortenson, Werner’s title for the Good Shepherd modernization is Principal in Charge of Project.

Werner lives only 10 minutes from Good Shepherd and his youngest child was born there 11 years ago. Werner and his wife, Sara, have two other children – their oldest is a freshman at Barrington High School – so naturally Werner has become familiar with the hospital. “We’ve had our share of ER visits for various things along the way,” he says.

Mortenson, based in Minneapolis, is one of the nation’s five largest health care contractors, according to Modern Healthcare magazine. Werner has been with the company since 1990.

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To LEED the Way

When Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s modernization is done in 2017, visitors will readily see such changes as the redesigned entrance and newly reorganized interiors. They will not be able to see the equally significant changes within the hospital’s walls.

Much of the hospital’s infrastructure – including its electrical, heating, ventilation, and water systems – has not been upgraded since Good Shepherd opened in 1979. These systems will be overhauled to make the hospital more ecologically friendly as well as reduce its energy costs. “That’s important to us to make sure we can continue to be energy-efficient and continue to operate this building well into the future,” Lambert says.

The systems that make up the infrastructure will be redesigned in concert with each other, says Allison Wyler. “All these systems are interrelated to ultimately create a more energy-efficient physical plant,” she says.

The infrastructure improvements figure into the hospital’s pursuit of LEED certification for the renovated Good Shepherd. LEED (which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary set of “green” ratings systems for buildings. The modernization team is following guidelines for a LEED Silver certification, the third-highest ranking. The U.S. Green Building Council awards LEED certification when construction is done.

Besides the infrastructure improvements, other energy-conscious aspects of the modernization include two green roofs; energy-efficient windows; sensors to shut off lights in unoccupied rooms; and low-energy LED exterior lights.

Greg Werner of general contractor Mortenson Construction praises Good Shepherd officials for pursuing LEED certification. “It’s the right thing to do,” he says. “It shows the right sort of leadership to providing an energy-efficient and ecologically conscious building.”

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Looking Forward

Barbie and Paul Hills Lead the Modernization Fundraising Campaign

Barbie and Paul Hills have a long history of philanthropy toward Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. Today, they are co-chairing the largest fundraising campaign in the hospital’s history, $25 million toward the cost of the hospital’s modernization project.

“I wasn’t here when they built the hospital originally,” Paul Hills says, “and I thought this was the new Good Shepherd Hospital. And my wife and I wanted to be a part of it.”

The Hills’ involvement with Good Shepherd goes back to 1987, shortly after they moved to Barrington. They wrote a check for $1,000 to achieve the donor category “Shepherd.” Since then, they have contributed many more dollars and much of their time. Paul has served on the hospital’s development council, governing council, and charity golf outing committee. He was chairman of the fundraising campaign for the Wayne and Patricia Kocourek Family Cardiac Care Center, which opened in 2005.

Paul Hills has a background in the health care business. In 1971 he co-founded Sage Products Inc. The Cary-based company manufactures medical devices. “Not only did I earn a living in health care,” he says, “but it was something that I understood. Not only its importance to the economy, but I also understood that health care – especially for younger people and older people – is something they cannot live without. … It’s a birth-to-death need, health care is.”

Hospital officials are grateful for the Hills’ patronage, particularly toward the modernization project. “Their leadership has been fabulous,” says Advocate Good Shepherd President Karen Lambert. "Their confidence in us and support has been great.”

The Hills began to organize the fundraising campaign a year and a half ago. They assembled a steering committee of community leaders they felt shared their passion for Good Shepherd and could get their friends involved. The initial push was for donations of six figures or more.

So far the campaign has raised $18.6 million. “We have a lot of caring, generous people in our community,” Barbie Hills says. Also, the hospital’s Nashville-themed Gala in September raised more than $300,000 for the modernization project.

Even with a strong start, reaching the $25 million goal in three years will not be easy. “It’s not going to be without pain to get to the $25 million,” Paul Hills says. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

The campaign will look toward involving the whole community in the modernization project. “Now that we’ve got a good start,” Barbie Hills says, “we’re going to need the help of the entire community – gifts of any size.”

The campaign’s theme, “Look Forward,” reflects the progress that modernization will bring to Good Shepherd. “The community is going to get, basically, a brand new hospital,” Paul Hills says. “Everyone who lives in that community will have the benefit of that hospital.”

That is why the Hills hope all who live in the Good Shepherd area consider contributing to the campaign. “We need the community to join forces to complete this great initiative,” Barbie Hills says. “We need everybody’s help. It’s for all of us.”

To contribute to the Advocate Good Shepherd modernization campaign, contact hospital Vice President of Development Sue Abderholden at 847-842-4026.

Master Photographer Joe Rush of Langdon’s of Barrington is a long-time Barrington resident.