IMAGES COURTESY OF ENGBERG ANDERSON, INC.
“I can tell you from experience that the personal touch really does matter. As with many people who have to deal with aging parents, my family was no exception. Last July and August my father spent the last weeks of his life, for the most part, conscious, but unable to speak due to a ventilator. We spent countless hours in the ICU. At no point was my dad ever denied the respect and dignity that all of us deserve, but, more importantly, our family had complete access to him, whenever we wanted. Those last days and hours were difficult for all of us, but the hospital staff was stellar. While my job does not involve direct patient contact, I am nevertheless proud to be part of an organization that demonstrated the utmost compassion to my dad and our family when it was needed most. While time does soften the pain, the loss is something you work through. During those times when things are the darkest, you tend to remember an instance or situation that stays with you forever. One of those moments was with Dr. Smith (not his real name) in the ICU. His ability to connect the clinical status of my dad with his own spiritual beliefs was unforgettable.”
This is the story of Waukesha Memorial Hospital. It is a real-life example of the daily interaction, connection, and feeling between caregiver and patient on the campus. The structure that embodies this feeling is a hospital based on creating a culture of compassion and the Optimal Healing Community (OHC). Pebble Partner, Waukesha Memorial Hospital (WMH), is the flagship hospital of ProHealth Care (PHC) in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Established in 1914, the hospital campus has expanded from approximately 60,000 square feet to nearly one million square feet over the past 96 years.
As a system, PHC has adopted the cultural brand commitment of creating the OHC as a way of expanding its mission to promote health and provide extraordinary healthcare to the communities it serves. The five essential elements of the OHC provide touchstones that remind clinical and nonclinical staff of the organization's core values and how each person can make a difference through the daily delivery of optimal care.
Patient centered: making an optimal patient experience the primary purpose of one's efforts.
Healing: interacting in ways that support mind, body, and spirit.
Excellence: being the best you can be.
Relationship: being an instrument of healing through empathetic person-to person interactions.
Self-awareness: knowing who you are and what you bring.
Space challenges impacting the optimal healing experience
The collaborative and supportive approach of the OHC facilitates the advancement of patient-centric medical care and the achievement of best practice clinical outcomes. Delivering this brand promise requires an environment that empowers staff to embrace the emotional and spiritual needs of the patients and each other. To establish alignment between the OHC essential elements and the WMH Strategic Campus Master Plan, WMH leadership assembled an interdisciplinary team to address the challenges.
Wayfinding. Located on top of a hill and surrounded by developed neighborhoods, WMH has experienced the typical 90-year hospital growth pattern of bed towers, a new main entrance, and an attached professional office building. The result is a landlocked campus with multiple entry points on different floor levels and a complex wayfinding experience.
Diagnostics and procedures. Continued growth of key specialty centers of excellence, new integrative technologies, and trauma-level two emergency status are putting pressure on the already congested diagnostics and procedure departments. The Day Surgery, Cardiac Cath, and Diagnostic Imaging Departments are left with limited possibilities for future expansion and a less than optimal patient arrival and waiting experience.
Decentralized centers of excellence. Supporting the growing operational and space needs of the Regional Cancer Center and Neurosciences Institute resulted in fragmented placement of both programs across the hospital and professional office building.