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Local News

Coming together

$247 million modernization project, improvements on schedule

BARRINGTON – More and more pieces of the years-long, $247 million modernization project at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington are coming together.

The exterior of the 208,000-square-foot building on the north end of the hospital is “practically done” and the interior isn’t far behind, said Allison Wyler, the director of endoscopy, pain and support services who also has been leading the modernization project. 

The diagnostic testing center – a “one-stop shop for patients” – opened last fall with just one more piece, the MRI department, to be placed there, hospital President Karen Lambert said.

The steel beams that will serve as the frames for the long, tall bank of windows that will mark the hospital’s new front door also have been going up, Wyler said.

“You’re starting to feel the units,” she said. “You’re starting to feel the private rooms. You’re starting to feel what that future really looks like.”

The completion of so much exterior work also means winter will be “no big deal” this year, Wyler said, adding with so much work going on at the hospital, this past winter didn’t set the schedule back any, either.

The private patient rooms along with the eight new operating rooms, the new lobby area and breast care center still are set to open this spring, Wyler said.

The shift will allow the hospital to renovate the old operating rooms currently being used, a necessary shuffle when the hospital can’t just close its doors for renovations, Lambert said.

Hospital officials have tried to be thoughtful as its gone about modernization efforts, not upgrading everything just “because it’s the newest one” or “because it’s fancy new equipment,” Lambert said.

The focus has been accessibility and convenience for patients, improving patient outcomes and making the hospital a better working environment for staff, officials said.

The private patient rooms as well as private prep and recovering bays in the renovated GI lab give the patients the space and quiet they need to recover, and allow the hospital to use its beds more efficiently, not having to leave a bed unused, for example, because the other person in the room has an infection, spokeswoman Lisa O’Neil said.

The consolidated testing center relocates different departments – placed around the hospital throughout the years where space was available – giving patients one place to go for many of their outpatient services, Lambert said.

Advances in technology and medicine has allowed hospitals to perform more surgeries and other services safely and non-invasively without having to admit patients, she said, adding she expects that trend to continue.

“I don’t know anyone who wants to get admitted to a hospital,” Lambert said. “The whole goal is to keep them healthy and out.”

The smart room technology added to patient rooms was tailored to the features staff thought would improve patient care, the coordination of care and the continuum of care, not just the ones that were “cool, so to speak,” she said

The upgrades will allow patients to view their day’s itinerary and connect to amenities like the TV and entertainment system, while giving hospital staff a more efficient way of communicating and receiving alerts, Wyler said.

“I  think we’re moving into an outcome-driven industry, which is good,” Lambert said. “What are your health outcomes or your safety outcomes? What your service outcomes?”

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