New Parkwest tower adds rooms, surgery space
Parkwest Medical Center is ready to open its new tower, with more patient rooms and expanded surgery areas.
The $99 million project took two years, adding 140,000 square feet spread over three floors.
“It’s monumental and transformational for us,” said Neil Heatherly, CAO of Parkwest.
Parkwest has grown substantially since its 1973 opening, and faced a shortage of both beds and operating rooms, he said. The new tower adds 72 private patient rooms and substantial operating capacity. The hospital will soon have 30 operating rooms, plus an observation unit, 46 staging rooms for patients awaiting surgery, 30 beds for post-anesthesia care — twice as many as before — and a dozen “holding area” beds for operations on patients who were already in the hospital.
That will allow Parkwest to perform up to 100 surgeries per day, Heatherly said. The hospital’s previous daily record is 88.
Ambulatory surgery patients will arrive at a new surgery entrance, backed by a large waiting room where volunteers will be on hand to advise families. There’s also a Starbucks.
Patients will leave through a new discharge area, set up to handle all the hospital’s departures.
The $99 million expansion includes additional operating rooms, surgical support space as well as a dedicated surgery entrance and patient discharge.
The addition will move the surgery center from another part of the hospital, Heatherly said. The rearrangement should ease the flow of patients through the hospital as a whole, moving them smoothly from one station to the next for appropriate care, he said.
Parking has been a “historic challenge” for Parkwest, and the expansion also addressed that, including valet service at the surgery entrance and discharge center, Heatherly said. The tower and parking, with corresponding rearrangement, create a real medical center campus, he said.
“We’ve never really had a campus before,” Heatherly said.
The two new floors of patient rooms are for orthopedic and spinal patients, but their addition will allow a medical unit for long-term patients with multiple problems to move into the existing Riverstone section, Heatherly said. Thus the expansion opens more beds for those patients and cardiac patients, he said.
The added rooms and surgical capacity are needed due to the surge of patients since the closure of Physicians Regional Medical Center a year ago, Heatherly said.
One further improvement remains to be done, he said: Once the new post-anesthesia care center opens, the area previously used for that will be converted to more cardiac operating rooms.
“That project will take about six months,” Heatherly said.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Jim Gaines
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Published December 19, 2019