Besides some artwork resting on the floor, missing beds and furniture wrapped in plastic, the new Alexian Brothers Women and Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates is just a few finishing touches away from opening its doors to patients.
On Monday, nurses were familiarizing themselves with the building while workers' hammering occasionally echoed down the halls. The smell of new equipment could be sensed on every floor, and blueprints taped on the walls had markings that showed what still needs to be done.
Alexian Brothers Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Frey said he has enjoyed seeing the $125 million project come together over the last four years.
“It's been exciting,” he said. “It's moved along pretty fast, but it's been a long time from concept to completion.”
Construction on the hospital at the St. Alexius Medical Center Campus began in May 2011. It will open Saturday, April 6.
Among the highlights of the hospital is the new Center for Pediatric Brain, which will house neurology specialists, including a pediatric neurosurgeon, on the first floor. Services in the center will include epilepsy treatment, concussion recovery, and neuropsychological and developmental evaluations.
The 210,000-square-foot building also holds outpatient areas, a pediatric unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, and labor, delivery and recovery rooms.
“This is an environment that's designed with clinicians in mind,” Frey said. “That's incredibly invaluable in terms of delivering great outcomes. ... If you're in an environment that's really not state-of-the-art you can do great work, but you can do even better work when you sort of have all the amenities.”
Guests will be greeted by what Executive Director of Nursing Joan Cappelletti described as a whimsical, circuslike tent outside the building with lighting that can change colors.
Inside, the hallways and rooms are filled with a mix of neutral and bright colors.
Large paintings by local artists will adorn the walls, along with artwork by kids and photographs of children.
“We decided to use a lot of the natural wood tones and just pops of color,” Cappelletti said, adding that there was a lot of thought put into making the hospital feel “homelike.”
Among the many donations to the building was a $250,000 gift from the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Rotary Club to create the second-floor family room, where a large fish tank still needs to be installed.
“We're really blessed to have these wonderful community partners help us,” said Marcy Traxler, director of the pediatric service line.
Playrooms for different age groups can be found on the pediatric floor, including a sensory room with subdued colors and padded carpet, and a teen room with a large window, gaming chairs and a big-screen TV.
The fourth-floor neonatal unit will serve high-risk babies.
Cappelletti said some are delivered as early as 24 weeks and weigh only 1 pound, and their stays can be anywhere from six weeks to three or four months.
A sleeper sofa in each room allows parents the ability to stay with their child at any hour, for as long as they want, although they are encouraged to go home and take a break at times.
“It's a very stressful time for the parents,” Cappelletti said. “They're able to really be a part of the care of their child.”
Because multiples often end up in the neonatal unit, every third room on the floor is set up for twins, with a door connecting the two rooms.
A corner unit even has accommodations for triplets.
Cappelletti said the hospital is hoping to raise funds in the future to set up some sort of Skype program that would allow moms to watch their babies from home so they don't have to stay at the hospital as much.
Traxler said one of the great things about the hospital is how it will continue to serve the babies who were raised in the intensive care unit as they get older.
“A lot of those NICU kids end up going on for specialized services, so they become those recurring patients,” she said.
“From a health system perspective, I think it just makes a lot of sense to be able to care for our patients instead of sending them out somewhere else, when really it's right here in their community where they want to stay.”
“I think that it builds a much better environment for parents who have children who have chronic illnesses or illnesses that tend to recur,” Frey added, noting the hospital will likely be appreciated by families who have kids with illnesses such as diabetes or regular seizures.
The fourth floor houses labor rooms and three operating rooms, along with eight antepartum rooms that overlook a golf course and from where, on a clear day, the Chicago skyline can be seen.
“If you're here for a long time you should have a great view,” Traxler said.
The hospital staff — which will be mostly current workers from the medical center, along with between 25 and 30 new employees — is hoping to transfer all the laboring moms and pediatric and neonatal patients in the medical center to the new building in about four hours on the opening day, Cappelletti said.
“That's the biggest finishing touch, getting everybody moved,” Frey said with a smile.
The hospital is hosting an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.
For information on the hospital or to RSVP to the open house, visit myalexiankids.net.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.