UK HealthCare Welcomes Patients to New ICU

Earlier this year, medical staff at UK HealthCare’s Chandler Hospital Pavilion A began treating critically ill patients in the hospital’s new 12th floor ICU.

Previously, medical and cardiovascular ICU patients have been spread across multiple floors of the hospital’s tower. The new space moves the units into one floor with several modifications and upgrades from the previous locations, driven by patient and staff experience in UK HealthCare’s various ICUs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals were forced to adapt and create makeshift solutions. Many of those solutions have been built into the design of the 12th floor.

“When we first began seeing COVID patients in early 2020, no one knew how to handle those specific needs,” says Ashley Montgomery-Yates, M.D., UK Department of Internal Medicine senior vice chair of strategy and director of UK’s ICU Recovery Clinic. “We adapted and created makeshift solutions as we went along to help staff better care for those patients. Now those solutions are built into the floor design.”

One example comes in the form of corridor design. “Typical hospital corridors are eight feet wide,” explains GBBN Associate Principal Stephanie Shroyer, who was part of the project team. “We found a way to take a little bit of space from the patient rooms and incorporate it into the corridors as flexible space. This flex space helps keep the corridors clear day to day. Should there be a significant event—another pandemic, or major accident—this flex space can house IV poles, airway carts, ventilators, and other equipment needed in those situations.”

The 12th floor now has 64 total ICU rooms, an increase of eight rooms. All rooms have negative pressure capability (to help prevent airborne disease transmission) and all can be doubled to handle increased patient load during a state of emergency. The 12th floor also incorporates respite moments such as “nurse recharge” stations to help prevent burnout by providing space for nurses to decompress.

Using Augmented Reality (AR) in the design process of the 12th floor significantly increased participant engagement as we worked with UK HealthCare staff to craft a space that provided state-of-the-art care, a sense of well-being, and respite opportunities for medical professionals. “Allowing staff to see something before it was implemented and walking them through what it would be like to use the space, especially where we were making improvements, was a vital part of the design process,” says GBBN Associate Matt Nett, who was also part of the design team.

“UK HealthCare is the state’s center for advanced subspecialty care because we have the outstanding healers – the physicians, professionals and medical staff – who provide the care that only we can,” said Eric N. Monday, co-executive vice president for health affairs. “Such expertise needs the best possible facilities to ensure we extend and maximize that level of care. With each floor of Chandler Pavilion A, we have learned more and added more – in terms of technology, upgrades, and staff support. This final floor represents, in many ways, the culmination of what we have learned in developing the facilities that Kentuckians need and deserve in the provision of care.”

Read more about the 12th floor ICU at UK HealthCare in the Lane Report.
Learn more about how we used AR in the design process here.
Learn from our EDRA presentation, “Get More From Your Corridors,” here.
See more of our UK HealthCare work here and here.
See more of our healthcare projects here.