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New wing at Tampa's St. Joseph's Hospital includes talking beds and hotel feel

This rendering shows off some of the features of rooms in the new wing at St. Joseph’s Hospital: the talking bed, a couch that converts into a twin bed and the column suspended from the ceiling that contains equipment so that wires won’t clutter the floor.

St. Joseph’s Hospital

This rendering shows off some of the features of rooms in the new wing at St. Joseph’s Hospital: the talking bed, a couch that converts into a twin bed and the column suspended from the ceiling that contains equipment so that wires won’t clutter the floor.

TAMPA — Patients in a new wing of St. Joseph's Hospital are experiencing the latest in medical innovations — including talking beds.

If, say, a disoriented critical care patient tries to get up, an alarm will sound, and a recorded voice from the bed will implore the patient to "please stay in your bed." Twenty language options are available.

The beds are part of a new $35 million wing completed last month for critical care, orthopedic and weight-loss surgery patients at the hospital on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. It was designed with advice from patients and nurses in mind.

Caregivers are experimenting with when it's appropriate to use the recorded reminders in beds, said Pat Donnelly, vice president of patient care services. They don't want to alarm patients who find that "all of a sudden your bed is talking to you."

All 52 new rooms are bigger and more accommodating to visitors, with extra beds, full baths and showers and desk space so family members can work on their computers.

"We tried to make it more like a hotel feel," Donnelly said.

St. Joseph's is one of several bay area hospitals to have renovated with a "hotel feel" in mind.

The lobby of St. Joseph's-North, a $225 million hospital that opened in February on Van Dyke Road, incorporates wood, slate and water to evoke the atmosphere of a Miami Beach hotel. Murals of the seashore decorate the MRI room, and all patient rooms are large, with family sitting areas and hardwood floors. Certain corridors are used exclusively by hospital workers to transport meals, laundry and equipment, leaving the public corridors quieter and less cluttered.

For the $12.3 million renovation this year at University Community Hospital-Carrollwood on N Dale Mabry Highway, decorators transformed the bland white walls to upbeat hues of orange, yellow and green, and they replaced tile with hardwood floors. Nurses' stations are closer to the patients under the new design, and all patient rooms have couches that convert into twin beds, so loved ones can stay overnight.

Donnelly notes that all patient rooms in St. Joseph's new wing were designed with a uniform layout, thereby increasing efficiency and safety. All sinks, for example, are placed near the door, so caregivers can wash their hands when they enter and leave a room.

Ten rooms are extra large, with larger furniture, for weight-loss surgery patients. Ceiling lifts in those rooms help nurses move incapacitated patients.

Decentralized nursing stations mean nurses don't have to walk as far to tend to patients' needs. And, in each room of the critical care unit, all equipment is contained in a column that is suspended from the ceiling, so no tangle of wires clutters the floor.

Philip Morgan can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or pmorgan@sptimes.com.

New wing at Tampa's St. Joseph's Hospital includes talking beds and hotel feel 01/06/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 4:02pm]
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