STAMFORD, Conn. -- Sitting areas with fireplaces, spacious private rooms with modern bathrooms, commissioned local art, and oversized windows with views of New York City and Long Island Sound — these are some of the amenities at the new Stamford Hospital .
The facility – more than 10 years in the making and designed around the patient experience – will open on Monday, Sept. 26.
Every detail has been carefully thought out and implemented -- from the doorknobs infused with copper to ward off the spread of bacteria to the flat-screen TVs in patient rooms personalized to welcome that specific individual and provide information about his or her care. The TV's also offer email access and, oh yeah, the patient's favorite shows and movies. A patient can even adjust the temperature in the room to their personal liking.
Ellen Komar, a trained nurse and vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer for Stamford Health, was among a team of doctors, nurses and administrators who traveled around the country touring new construction hospitals and asking questions like "If you could do it differently, what would you do?" All of their answers -- as well as the team's observations -- were considered when planning the hospital's transformation. Architects, too, worked with hundreds of the hospital’s doctors, nurses and staff, as well as former patients, for their input.
The result is a stunning state-of-the-art 650,000-square-foot building created, a la Disney, where the work of accessing clinical material, removing of trash, replenishing room supplies and more is all done behind the scenes.
"We wanted to create a serene environment that feels welcoming and less stressful," said Komar.
To that end, there is a big emphasis on natural light with a soaring 30-foot glass-enclosed lobby and floor-to-ceiling windows in each patient room. There are also lots of nooks and crannies for families to steal away, to sit by a flickering gas fireplace or to have a quiet moment by an area landscape. Each floor even features a meditation room complete with a massage chair.
There are also private consultation rooms where staff can meet with families in a comfortable setting.
The nurse's stations have also gotten a complete overhaul to incorporate today’s most advance care protocols, with almost every station (eight out of 12) boasting a direct line of sight with the patient.
"We want our nurses to be able to anticipate a patient's needs to respond quickly, while also making his or her time here as comfortable and restorative as possible," said Komar.
A lot of thought, too, has been put into the 650 pieces of artwork placed throughout the new facility, 40 percent of which comes from Connecticut artists and reflects the local area. Expect lots of beach scenes, lighthouses and Stamford landscapes. The artwork is also designed to integrate with the navigating — to help visitors them find their way around the hospital.
Even the flooring is a topic of conversation; Komar said it was designed for minimal noise.
Among the biggest changes to the 180-bed facility is private rooms for all complete with modern bathrooms. There are even private treatment rooms in the emergency room, which is now divided between pediatric and adult, and offers separate areas for substance abuse, behavioral health, cardiac and trauma.
The hospital’s dedicated pediatric emergency center will also offer access to pediatric emergency medicine specialists and a separate waiting area.
In addition, there are significantly larger operating rooms (from 25,980 square feet to 50,600 square feet) designed to accommodate both current, and future, technology.
And, to help you find your way around the new Stamford Hospital there are printed maps as well an app called “Stamford Health Find My Way” that can be downloaded for your Android or iPhone.
On Friday, hospital staff will start transferring patients into the new hospital. "We have a very systematic operation to do that," said Komar. The process will take place over the weekend, and the new facility will be fully operational and open to the public on Monday morning.
Stamford Hospital is located at 1 Hospital Plaza off West Broad Street, 203-276-1000, www.stamfordhealth.org/ .