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Cardiovascular inpatient unit opens at UK

Facility is one of largest intensive-care units in the country

By Kentucky Health News

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2014) — UK HealthCare’s new 64-bed Cardiovascular Inpatient Unit, one of the largest intensive-care units in the country, accepted its first patients Monday, says a University of Kentucky news release.

UK Hospital Pavilion A“This new unit doubles our capacity to treat Kentucky’s sickest heart patients and brings the best technology medicine has to offer right to a Kentucky heart patient’s backyard,” UK President Eli Capilouto said in the release.

The new unit, located on the 8th floor of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital’s new Pavilion A, has 32 intensive care beds and 32 progressive care beds.

Dr. Susan Smyth, medical director of the Gill Heart Institute, told UKNow that the unit “represents an unequaled opportunity to help staff provide patients with the highest standard of care in a technologically advanced healing environment.”

One of the unique features of the CV Unit is that it has its own Central Monitoring Service station embedded on the floor, says the release.

“Even though the nursing staff is situated immediately outside a patient’s room, they are often away from one patient while helping ambulate another,” Smyth said in the release. “Having trained staff monitoring patients in such close proximity provides an extra layer of care.”

The unit also has its own imaging suite for echocardiography. This not only minimizes patient transfers for testing, but will open up existing imaging areas for other inpatient and outpatient use, thereby reducing wait times. The Gill Heart Institute performs approximately 25,000 imaging studies each year, says the release.

Additionally, the floor is the first in Pavilion A to use new barcode technology for patient medication administration, which will minimize medication errors. It also offers interactive TVs in every room, with programming available specific to the patient and their heart health needs

“Patients will be able to access videos describing their condition, their treatment, and education about self-care and healthy lifestyles,” Dr. Michael Sekela, surgical director of the Gill Heart Institute, told UKNow. “Once they are home, they will be able to access the same information from their home computer, which should help minimize post-discharge confusion and the readmissions that often result from that.”

The unit will continue its longtime policy to ambulate every cardiac patient at least once a day, regardless of their diagnosis or treatment, says the release. This is accomplished by a group of physical therapy students and volunteers caled CATWalkers.

“This new unit brings the highest level of cardiac care available anywhere on one floor, in an environment that’s efficient for our staff and conducive to healing for our patients,” Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs, said in the release. “Combined with the Gill Affiliate Network partnerships, this means patients get the level of care they need as close to home as possible.”

Kentucky Health News is a service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.