2nd Phase Expansion at Henry Ford Hospital Boosts ICU Capacity


DETROIT, July 15, 2009 – The second and final phase of a two-story addition at Henry Ford Hospital set to open July 21 expanded its intensive care capacity to the largest in Michigan and created 72 new jobs, further enhancing the hospital’s capability to treat critically ill patients.

The addition of 24 private intensive care patient rooms bring to 156 the total number of intensive care rooms at Henry Ford, the most of any hospital in Michigan and nearly double the amount of other large hospitals in the state.

Henry Ford is the flagship hospital for Henry Ford Health System, which collectively has 243 intensive care rooms.

An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialized section of a hospital that provides comprehensive and continuous care for patients who have a potential life-threatening injury, condition or disease. Studies have shown that critically-ill patients who are treated by trained critical care staff have better outcomes than those treated by non-trained critical care staff.

In 2008, more than 8,800 patients were admitted to an ICU at Henry Ford – up 1.5 percent from 2006 – and stayed an average of six days – the national average for hospitals that provide care with critical care experts. At hospitals where care is provided by an attending physician, the average length of stay is nine days. The average daily cost in a medical ICU at Henry Ford is $3,500; the average daily cost in a surgical ICU is $4,000.

Perhaps not coincidentally, as Henry Ford’s intensive care capacity has grown, its infection rates in this area have dropped significantly due to a fierce commitment to eliminate hospital-borne infections. For example:

  • Bloodstream infections were down 57 percent in 2008 compared to 2005.
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia rates dropped 86 percent in the same time frame.
  • Since 2004, Henry Ford’s hospital mortality rate has declined to 1.72 from 3.03 percent.

“It’s very rewarding when I’m able to rescue patients from circumstances where, without high-level technological intervention and dedicated bedside care, they would not have survived,” says Michael Eichenhorn, M.D., division head of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

“When dealing with acute, overwhelming illness, I believe it’s important to find the comfort zone between appropriate, aggressive treatment and the maintenance of dignity for patients and families.”

A key element to the care process employed in the ICU is an electronic patient care program called MetaVision, which allows staff to monitor critical patient information on a minute-to-minute basis. Interfaced with a ventilator and other intensive care equipment, MetaVision shows vital signs, medications, patient progress and other important patient information that can alert staff to intervene early should a patient’s condition change. Henry Ford is the only Michigan hospital using the MetaVision technology.

Because of the unique nature of critical care medicine, the care team in an ICU comprises a specialized group of highly trained experts that include critical care physicians, nurses, pharmacists and respiratory therapists. Patients are typically assigned one, or at most, two nurses.

Generally, ICU patients occupy only 10 percent of the inpatient beds at a hospital, but they account for almost 30 percent of acute care hospital costs or an estimated $180 billion nationally every year. The Society of Critical Care Medicine estimates that nearly $13 million can be saved annually if care in an ICU is provided by a team of critical care experts.

The opening of a new floor called P5 – dedicated to the 24 private intensive care rooms and 16 private medical/surgical patient rooms – is the final piece of a two-story $35 million addition that culminates a three-year, $310 million capital improvement investment at the Detroit hospital,
the single-largest renovation and expansion in the hospital’s 94-year-history.

The two new floors (P6 opened last December) collectively added 80 new private patient rooms to the hospital’s west wing known as the Henry Ford II Pavilion, named after the grandson of the hospital’s founder. The 32,000-square-foot P5 floor will house patients recovering from cardio-thoracic surgery.

The 72 new jobs have been mostly filled by critical care nurses.

“The staff who work in our ICUs are specially trained to care for some of the most complex medical conditions and diseases,” says Karla Zarb, R.N., nurse administrator for the P5 floor. “This new intensive care floor enhances our capability to provide this expert care to seriously ill patients who require it.”

Anthony Armada, president and chief executive officer of Henry Ford Hospital and Health Network, says the recent expansion further strengthens Henry Ford’s commitment to the city of Detroit, and positions the hospital to meet the growing demand for caring for critically ill patients. Every year, more than 5 million patients are admitted to ICUs in the United States and that number will continue to grow as the population ages.

“This investment enhances Henry Ford’s legacy that has been established through decades of providing the best medical services available to the citizens of Detroit and southeast Michigan as well as those who have come to us from around the globe,” Armada says.

“When we announced our expansion plan at our flagship hospital in 2006, our goal was to update our facility to meet the needs of 21st century patients. The result is a larger, more vibrant medical campus that enhances the patient care experience for our patients, their loved ones and our employees.”

The P5 floor features warm, soothing colors of blue and sage green, natural maple crown molding and modern furniture to reflect the comforts of home. The vinyl floor covering is impervious to the spread of infection.

Like the P6 floor above, the patient rooms on P5 do not share common walls or ceilings, a unique feature in hospitals. The design virtually eliminates the sounds between rooms and in the hallways of the hustle and bustle that occurs daily in hospitals. The rooms – at 200-square-feet, slightly larger than other intensive care rooms at Henry Ford – also are equipped with a sleeper sofa and a reclining chair for overnight stays by family members and loved ones.

Other P5 features include:

  • Smart technology at the patient’s fingertips. The rooms have wireless Internet access, a telephone, remote-controlled window treatments and individual room thermostat, and adjustable lighting options.
  • Flat screen TVs with bedside remote.
  • Nursing stations that allow staff to closely monitor patient rooms.

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