Hospital’s new heart centre opens

Sunnybrook's cardiac units see about 7,000 patients each year

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has completed a $25 million redesign for its Schulich Heart Centre, which will see improved facilities from both an aesthetic and functional standpoint.

The centre, which serves about 7,000 patients annually, took about three years to redesign, said the hospital’s chief of the Schulich Heart Program, Dr. Bradley Strauss.

The project saw the Dr. Brian W. Gilbert Cardiac Care Unit, the Cardiac Short-Stay Unit, and the E and G and P and L Odette Family Cardiac Inpatient Unit all renovated.

The main piece is the cardiac care unit, which will feature 12 acute care beds in private rooms. Strauss said he believes the old care unit dated back to the 1960s.

“Sunnybrook had a very old coronary care unit,” he said. “It was in terrible shape, it was dark, poorly lit, there was no patient privacy, and the rooms were just separated by a little curtain.”

The new state of the art facility goes a long way in creating a more pleasant atmosphere for patients because it’s brighter and provides more privacy.

“The really sick patients coming in with heart attacks were staying in what was really just a terrible physical place,” Strauss said. “So that’s been modernized unbelievably … I don’t think you can find a more beautiful coronary care unit anywhere.”

In addition to the aesthetic upgrade, each room now has its own nursing station, whereas previously there was a central nursing station for each unit.

“Now the nurses actually sit outside the room in between two patients, and they’re much physically closer to the patients,” Strauss said. “So it’s actually (improving) the way the nursing is being delivered.”

The new 12-bed short stay unit, located in the space formerly occupied by the old coronary care unit, has been completely redesigned.

“When you walk in there, you don’t even recognize it,” Strauss said. “It’s totally reconfigured and now has some light in there.”

Strauss said the ambiance of a health care facility is not something to be overlooked.

“For delivering health care, it makes a world difference when it’s done in a place that’s comfortable for the patients … the experience for everyone is enhanced.”

The redesign also creates significantly more working space. The private rooms have more room for equipment like balloon pumps and pacemakers.

“We can deliver a lot more patient activities at the bedside,” Strauss said. “In the past there was not much room to really even take care of those patients because it was so crowded.”

The redesign wouldn’t have been possible without donations from the community, including a $10 million contribution from Seymour Schulich, the centre’s namesake.

“A lot of people put in really incredible amounts of support and money to help build it,” Strauss said. “It’s their hospital, and they share in creating the right type of hospital for their care.”

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Posted: Dec 19 2011 3:40 pm
Filed in: Health & Wellness
Edition: Toronto