West Kendall Baptist Hospital Opens for Patients on April 27

On April 27, Baptist Health South Florida will open a brand-new West Kendall Baptist Hospital facility to the public. The project has been two and a half years in construction and 10 years in the planning. It’s the first new hospital built in Miami-Dade County in about 30 years at a cost of $210 million.

The 4-story, 282,000-square-foot ergonomically designed structure located on 30 acres at Southwest 96th Street and 167th Avenue is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) compliant. It is licensed for 133 beds with room to add more and Category 5 Hurricane resistant. You could say it’s built for comfort and environmental friendliness.

The facility is clearly meant to be attractive to the tasteful medical care shopper, offering many catchy attractions, light, open spaces and pleasing decor. It emphasizes patient and family experience. Wifi and a system to enhance cell phone reception are a nice touch as is a family resource center where, with the help of staff and online resources, families can research their diagnoses and treatments. Also there is no restriction on visiting hours.

It is also an Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) hospital, which according to Wikipedia, is a way of doing medicine that applies the best available evidence gained from the scientific method to clinical decision making as opposed to rigidly following a strict clinical procedure.

The hospital is part of the Baptist Health South Florida’s plan to create a system unto itself (see the Miami Herald article) emphasizing outpatient care and preventative medicine.

It will also be the teaching hospital for Florida International University’s medical program, a major coup for FIU considering how new its program is and that a major competitor, the University of Miami, had to wait decades for a teaching hospital.

A late model bright red Tesla electric sports car sat at the hospital’s single Charge Point car charging station located in the employee parking lot. Lent by an unnamed board member and put there to draw attention to West Kendall Baptist Hospital’s commitment to sustainability, the charge point is the only one on the grounds. There will be another at the corporation’s headquarters. The intention is to add more in the future.

There is also a bus hub close to the hospital so it can be reached easily via public transportation.
“We have bike racks close to the entrance [and] we have special showers for employees to encourage them to bike to work,” said Georgina Gonzalez-Robiou, director of marketing and public relations.

It’s all part of “a larger sustainability message. The hospital was designed and built green. Basically what that means is that we used reclaimed wood. [The] furniture we purchased is green friendly – even the equipment we will use in the gym will cycle power back into the grid. We won’t have them until October because they’re expensive. We have to wait until our next budget cycle,” she said.

“We also bought carbon credits to offset whatever damage we were doing to Mother Earth. We’ll use 50 percent less water than a facility the same size [not built to the same standards] and the roof and windows have characteristics to reduce cooling cost. The message is to try to be as sustainable as possible‚” said Gonzalez-Robiou.

Baptist West Kendall’s sustainability focus can be seen in the material and layout of the structure, too.
Tightly centralized and compact, built around an elevator core, and the open spaces are bigger than they have to be.

“This building was created with expansion in mind. We’re approved to grow to 300 beds and our pharmacy and lab, are massive‚” said Gonzalez-Robiou.

The work of getting the hospital ready to take in patients was no small task according ti Jennifer Booker, RN, director of surgical services.

Recruited from California, she and her staff have been very busy over the last 8 months preparing the surgical equipment for surgeons. They have also been determining procedural policies, the way the work will flow. She had just finished sterilizing the surgery equipment and her team is now just tying up loose ends.

“We gotta sterilize all those instruments. They don’t come that way‚” Booker said. “We’re planning on 12 patients a day. That’s about our average. I can tell you it’s a monumental task.”

She said she had five months to build almost $6 million worth of trays, meaning the setup of instruments and supplies that are prepared beforehand and are ready when a surgery is scheduled. The instruments must be ordered, according to every surgeon’s preference – not an easy task when one isn’t yet sure who is on staff.
The neonatal unit, named Beautiful Beginnings by it’s manager Ann Mullings, RN, is a level one or newborn admit nursery‚ which can treat high-risk patients, but they have Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurses who can stabilize newborns at delivery if necessary and then they can be moved to an appropriate facility.

The nursery also has a warm and bright open space. Nursery windows are two different heights from the floor, the lower ones intended to allow children to see in without having to be lifted. It also has a security system that pairs bracelets given to mother and baby. Attached at birth, these make a noise sent to the nursing station whenever mother and baby are together to indicate if the pair has been mismatched.

Baptist West Kendall Hospital also participates in UNICEF and the World Health Organizations’s (WHO) Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) which promotes breastfeeding and certifies hospitals only if they have implemented 10 basic steps specified in the guidelines (see article http://www.unicef.org/programme/breastfeeding/baby.htm).

“We’re a great supporter of breast feeding. We have lactation consultants on staff and can offer assistance 24 hours a day, so if a mother wants to breastfeed we’ll do whatever it takes to help her.
“Breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be taught but once you get it, it’s smooth sailing,” Mullings said.
On Sunday, April 17, from 4:30 p.m. to sundown, the hospital will have a pre-opening community celebration. All are welcomed. There will be entertainment for the kids, a sunset concert and fireworks grand finale.

Source: Michael Strader Marko, Miami Herald