When someone requires the services of the Intensive Care Unit, much is at stake.
These patients are the sickest and most vulnerable, and their families and loved ones are often under tremendous stress. It’s times like these when the details matter most.
When Lowell General Hospital designed its new Intensive Care (ICU), which opened in early March 2017, the needs of patients and their families came first.
Staffed with tertiary specialists from Tufts Medical Center (MC), the Gil and Marilyn Campbell Intensive Care Unit gives patients in the Merrimack Valley access to the highest level of care close to home and their families, while expanding and modernizing Lowell General’s ability to care for these patients.
“Instead of having ICU patients who need tertiary care in Boston, we are bringing that care to Lowell,” says Dr. Greg Schumaker, Director of the Tufts Medical Center Intensivist Program at Lowell General Hospital. “That was our goal when we started this program, and we have succeeded. We are keeping more patients in Lowell.”
Some of the most common conditions seen in the ICU include sepsis (infection), respiratory failure, heart attacks and patients recovering from an array of different surgical procedures including complex brain surgeries, for example.
To create the most healing environment for these patients, Schumaker and his fellow Tufts MC intensivists had significant input into the design of the new unit.
The new unit includes:
- Larger rooms with windows that give patients a better sense of the outside world, which helps to reduce symptoms of confusion and disturbances in mental abilities that often accompany an ICU stay and can negatively impact recovery.
- Negative pressure rooms for patients with infectious diseases, greatly reducing the risk of the spread of infection in the unit.
- A corridor that improves privacy for patients and visitors while reducing noise, allowing patients a more peaceful environment.
- Family meeting rooms that allow physicians a space for private conversations with family members.
- A 5,500-square-foot healing garden in the adjacent outdoor space to provide a reflective place that offers peace and tranquility while providing a quiet, meditative area to ease the stress of illness.
- Increased storage for key supplies, giving clinicians more room to work.
The addition of the 11-bed unit, which increases Lowell General’s total number of ICU beds to 32 across its main and Saints campuses, means more patients and families will have access to these services.