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New Hospital Blog : 1-11-11

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The Mock Move Works Without a Hitch
by Trillium Hibbeln on 11/29/2010 at 11:08 AM

I have been meaning to tell you about a big milestone on our project that I missed being part of and how I learned another lesson of what a great team we have.

On November 16 we conducted an exercise to practice what it would be like to move patients from the current children's hospital space to the new hospital.

This "mock move" involved months of planning and preparation. A team led by nurse managers Gretchen Koeman and Sue Teman and Spectrum Health's disaster preparedness director Julie Bulson coordinated the efforts of dozens of staff members from nursing, respiratory therapy, patient transport, facilities, security and child life.

Their assignment: how to move about 100 children across two hospital wings, down several elevators, through busy patient care areas and safely into the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Children get moved around quite a bit already in our current children's hospital. They traverse the hospital buildings for diagnostic tests, sedation procedures, and to and from the operating rooms.

But, moving children on 1-11-11 is not expected to be a normal transport. Some of the kids are expected to be medically fragile, needing respiratory support, diagnostic monitoring, control of their pain, and reassurance that it will be safe and even fun.

The mock move team enlisted the help of students from Zion Christian School to practice. The students were each given a role to play: with information sheets for staff that the "patient" was of a certain age, with a particular diagnosis, and needing a certain level of support from nursing or respiratory therapists.

And there was another wrinkle, our communications team had invited the news media to cover the event, so we were all "on stage" in real time.

The week before the mock move, I was scheduled for a long planned trip out of the country, but had arranged to be back on the day of the exercise to observe from the "command post."

Alas, airplane trouble stranded me in Florida, so I had to follow the exercise via text messages on my smartphone.

I received the message that the first patient moved smoothly along the route and arrived safely in the new children's hospital in 10 minutes.

It was an emotional moment in the command post for the team monitoring the drill, one nurse said she was moved to tears, and soon everyone got a little misty eyed that it was all going according to plan.

In all about two dozen "patients" were moved safely and the exercise was deemed a success.

And I realized yet again that the hard work and preparation that all of staff has put in together over the last year is paying off. We have established a solid team who cover for each other, support each other, and are ready to open the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital on 1-11-11.

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