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On May 27, as many as 120 cardiovascular patients will begin their day in Tower step-down or intensive care units. At the end of the day, the Tuesday following Memorial Day, those patients will be in the new Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center.
With about 10 weeks remaining, hospital leaders are rolling up their sleeves and participating in mock drills for planning and executing a safe move for patients to the other side of Francis Street, either over the new bridge that connects the Tower and Shapiro Center or underground through L2. Last week, in a table-top exercise, hospital leaders, administrators and patient care staff dissected and analyzed every detail of this historic move.
“We need to anticipate and then work out any kinks in this plan to make sure we’re ready for Day One with a safe transition for our patients and families and staff,” said BWH Chief Operating Officer Kate Walsh, who served as an observer during the drill.
Barry Wante, BWH Emergency Preparedness program manager, led the initial table-top move exercise, and Janet Razulis, administrative director for Patient Care Services, presented all the various logistics in place for the move. About 50 BWHers are assigned to various teams, including the Emergency Operations Center, which will manage the move as if BWH were responding to an emergency situation using the hospital’s incident command system. Other teams are comprised of staff who will monitor routes, nurses who will staff the ICUs and step down units as patients are prepared for transition, and other clinical and support staff that will be transporting and welcoming patients in Shapiro.
“Everyone on these teams has an important role in ensuring patients are moved into Shapiro safely and efficiently. And we feel moving right after Memorial Day is safest for our patients because it is the time our census is lowest and the fewest patients will need to be moved,” said Razulis.
Bill Churchill, MS, RPh, executive director of Pharmacy, was one of the observers of the drill. “We realized that, as the Pharmacy Department, we need to know in real time when the patients are moving to keep track of their medication orders,” he said. “It was helpful to see everything play out because I am now familiar with the exact logistics of how things will be done.”
Matt Quin, BSN, RN, nurse manager in the Cardiac Surgery ICU, who participated in the drill, said it gave him a better understanding of the resources needed to move each patient.
“We found that some of the staff requirements we had envisioned probably would not have been sufficient, so it was a learning curve. It was nice to see this from an operational perspective as opposed to a theory on paper,” Quin said.
Wante threw the move teams a curveball during the exercise: there is a city-wide power outage limiting BWH to emergency only power. In addition to various scenarios, the teams reported back that that they required additional elements in place for the move, such as clearly marking the routes and identifying patients who will be discharged or transferred from intensive care to a step-down unit before the move. And they suggested patients’ personal belongings be gathered and stored in special bags identified as those moving to the Shapiro Center.
“The exercise identified many components in the ongoing planning that work well and that we can continue to build upon,” said Wante. “We also identified key aspects we haven’t considered at this point, and those will now become part of our planning going forward.”