A progressive care unit featuring private rooms and a modern design has opened at Geisinger Community Medical Center and specializes in caring for the complex needs of trauma, medical and surgical patients.

Located on the hospital’s fourth floor, directly above the intensive care unit, the new unit houses 18 private rooms and nursing alcoves that allow direct visual oversight of patient rooms through large glass windows. The care model decentralizes nursing stations to improve surveillance of each patient and enhances the care team’s communication with patient families, giving family members closer access to nursing staff.

“The nursing model used in the new PCU allows for improved monitoring of critically ill patients from the nurses’ station that extends around the entire unit,” said Glenna Barletta, nursing operations manager at Geisinger CMC. “Nursing alcoves are located outside each room to ensure the care team is always close by.”

Development of the unit is part of a $16 million project that also begins the hospital’s approach to a private-bed model.

Designed to improve patient experience, quality of care and efficiency of operation, the unit’s private rooms meet the need to care for critically ill patients.

“We know the benefits of the private-room model on clinical quality and patient experience are well-studied and indisputable,” said Ujwal Tuladhar, M.D., hospitalist at GCMC. “They include reduced risk of hospital-acquired infection, reduced patient stress levels due to improved privacy and reduction of unwanted noise, and better facilitation of care. Private rooms cater to patient comfort, better rest and more room for caregivers and loved ones.”

The unit’s private rooms are larger than the semiprivate rooms of the previous step-down unit with enough space to accommodate critical care technology, allowing the team to treat higher-acuity patients, such as ventilator patients who require medications that elevate blood pressure.

“The room size allows for more sophisticated equipment to fit into the space and provides our care team with greater ability to move around the patient to deliver care,” Barletta said. “This allows us to broaden the criteria of patients the unit can accept.”

The unit has two waiting rooms — a quiet room and another with a television — and features multiple family meeting rooms, a wellness room with massage chairs and two bariatric patient rooms with showers.

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