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New Children’s Hospital of Michigan test-runs life-size mockup of patient rooms

May 5, 2016 Article 2 min read
The Detroit Medical Center constructs and test-runs life-size mockups of the neonatal and prenatal ICU patient rooms for the new Children’s Hospital of Michigan, saving thousands of dollars in after-the-fact changes while improving the quality of the final product.

doctor's gloved hands holding a baby's hand

Hospital personnel were able to walk through two life-sized representations of the private intensive care rooms that will be built in new Children’s Hospital of Michigan, part of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). Contractors mocked up one neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) room and one pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) room on a vacant floor in a building on the DMC’s campus. The mockups offered hospital staff and contractors the opportunity to find conflicts, inconsistencies, and areas for improvement while they get a feel for the finished product.

Over the course of this exercise, hospital personnel from each of the DMC’s three shifts were invited to test-drive the rooms in order to discuss clinical and safety issues and improve efficiency and the overall patient experience. Similar to a dress rehearsal for a play, test-runs can ensure the layout, lighting, headwalls, and amenities turn out exactly as intended. As the hospital switches from shared NICU rooms holding four to six cribs to a private room model, these mock-ups also offer the opportunity to develop the logistics around patient care in the new layout.

The construction trades responsible for building the actual rooms used this opportunity to work out details that were not on the architectural plans, test fit the constructability of in-wall utilities, and practice installing boxes, pipe, conduit, and other utilities to increase their understanding of how the rooms will come together. Building hospital room mockups offers the chance to resolve minor errors or improve the layout of the equipment now, rather than having to make such adjustments multiple times over as the real rooms are built. This exercise also mitigates unexpected costs as kinks are worked out in the building process, ultimately improving both efficiency during construction and the quality of the final product.

This exercise proved that a small investment up-front saves thousands of dollars in last minute or after-the-fact changes. Locations of the light switches, nurse call devices, monitor brackets, cubicle curtains, and linen and trash receptacles are just a sampling of items that were modified or enhanced during the test-runs. The mocked-up NICU and PICU rooms will continue to be available to use for staff training and clinical operations planning while the building is being built.

The new Children’s Hospital of Michigan addition is the final phase of the DMC’s $500 million dollar capital improvement program encompassing 15 projects on campuses throughout its system of hospitals. The project entails construction of a six-story, 248,800-square-foot patient tower that will include 39 private beds in the NICU on the third floor and 48 private beds in the PICUs on the fourth and fifth floors. Other floors will house emergency, radiology, and surgery departments. Construction is currently underway, and the new building is scheduled to open in early 2017.

About the Children’s Hospital of Michigan

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan is the first hospital in Michigan exclusively dedicated to the treatment of children. The hospital has more than 40 pediatric medical and surgical services and is ranked as one of the best hospitals for children in the United States. The Children’s Hospital of Michigan is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). To learn more, visit >>

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