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Intensive Care Center

It's stressful when a loved one is hospitalized. It's truly frightening if that person is in intensive care. That's where the most seriously ill patients who need the most critical attention are cared for.

Mercy  Medical Center 's new Intensive Care Center (ICC) offers the highest level of patient care. Families can be comforted by the fact that their loved ones receive around-the-clock attention by experienced, expert staff using the latest state-of-the-art technology.

That's exemplified by Mercy's dedication to patient-centered care. Mercy's ICC, located on the second floor of Mercy's in-patient tower, is staffed by more than 50 health-care professionals. Registered nurses, technicians and Medical Emergency Team (MET) leaders, who also are RNs, care for patients in the 20,000-square-foot, 20-bed unit.

Each patient has a private room, which is provided to all inpatients at Mercy. Two rooms are linked by an alcove and each ICC nurse typically is assigned to no more than two patients during a shift. The alcove provides storage space for equipment and supplies, as well as a documentation area.

"The new design of the Intensive Care Center gives all medical staff access to critical health information for each patient as needed, says Fadi Yacoub , MD , who is co-medical director of the ICC, along with J. David Cowden, MD.

"The ability to interface different types of equipment and the monitoring system is state of the art," Dr. Yacoub says. "Electronic access to medical records is another unique feature that will be added to stream line access to all information of patients in the ICC; all that information that is seen on the monitors will be available from Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The addition of hands-free communication adds to patient contact in cases of cardiac and other alarms that are part of any Intensive Care.  We are excited to say that all patients that receive care in ICC will have the most up-to-date medical advancements in the area."

In Mercy's ICC, nurses never have to take their eyes off their patients.

"A nurse truly is at the patient's bedside for the entire shift," explains Tim Hehr, RN, ICC director. "The nurse can keep watch over the patient while simultaneously doing paperwork, computer documentation and other necessary tasks."

This patient-centered care is reinforced by leading-edge wireless technology such as Vocera. While on duty, Mercy nurses wear Vocera badges, which are wireless communications tools linked to the telephone system, the nurses' station and patient monitors.

"If a nurse is checking on her first patient, and the monitor for her second patient registers a life-threatening situation such as a drop in blood pressure or change in heart rate, the Vocera badge will show an alarm for that patient," Hehr notes. "Also, the computer monitor in every room will go to a split screen showing an alert for a bed number - no names are used so everything is confidential."

In addition, the unit's conference room is centralized. Its location and glassed-in design allow the floor to be constantly monitored.

"We can do interdisciplinary rounds with physicians, therapists or dietitians and still see what's going on around us," Hehr says.

Along with dedicated patient-centered care, Mercy's ICC offers a state-of-the-art boom system, the only one of its kind in the United States. Each room contains two maneuverable booms that provide immediate access to medical gases, such as oxygen, and other critical-care technologies.

"The booms can be moved to make things the most convenient for patients, physicians, staff and families," Hehr points out. "Equipment is off the floor and out of the way. It's more efficient."

"The new Intensive Care Center is a strong representation of medical progress in today's world," says Dr. Cowden. "Combining the highest level of technology with a comforting environment allows experienced physicians, staff and families to provide exemplary and compassionate care."