F. Sessions Cole M.D. and George A. Macones M.D.

F. Sessions Cole M.D., chief medical officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and George A. Macones M.D., division chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital show off one of the private rooms for mothers and their baby in the new Parkview Tower located on Parkview Place, just east of Kingshighway Blvd.

Some of the most complex medical cases at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are moving into BJC HealthCare’s new Parkview Towers, designed for optimum patient care and family comfort. BJC took into account design ideas and input from more than 750 people, including patients, family, physicians, nurses, and nonclinical staff on how people and patients would experience the new spaces.

When you go inside the new expansion, a check-in desk is located in front of separate elevators which take visitors to the either the Women and Infants Center or Siteman Cancer Center. Each floor has themes, corresponding colors, original artwork, and patient exercise rooms.

The new configuration brings mothers who have high-risk or complicated labor and deliveries much closer to their babies. Previously, mothers and infants were housed at two separate locations, and some of the babies had to be separated from their moms and brought over to Children’s, said F. Sessions Cole M.D., chief medical officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital was expanded, and a skywalk connects it to labor and delivery in Parkview Towers.

“While it is geared to have all the resources and people, medicines and machines available for both the mother and baby, regardless of the problem for the high-risk moms, you can be a low-risk mom and deliver here and have complete control over what’s going to happen to you,” Dr. Cole said. “But, if you have an unanticipated or unpredicted problem, we can help you with that too, because all the other resources are right here.”

For mothers in active labor, there is a separate private hallway to walk and progress their labor. There are six tub rooms. Each patient room has garden views and is designed to be family-friendly and to keep mother and baby together – which helps in breastfeeding.

“That’s really what the focus is – to make sure the patients are comfortable and they can have their family members there, and there’s room for everyone,” said George A. Macones, M.D., a Washington University obstetrician/gynecologist and division chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “All private rooms, beautiful amenities – we want to make it a great experience. If it is a complicated pregnancy, we still want people to have a beautiful birth experience they will remember forever.”

Dr. Macones said everything that the mom or the baby needs is right in the room. The technology in each patient the room is helpful for both medical staff and patients.

“There is going to be a system when somebody walks into the room, an employee or a physician, their picture will come up on the TV with who they are and what their role is,” Dr. Macones said. “Because there are a lot of us, and we are in and out all of the time and it’s very confusing, so it is going to be nice for patients to know.”

Both towers are bathed in light and designed to reduce patient distractions, to provide privacy and comfort and to provide accommodations for family members.

Accommodations, in addition to the patient, are one bed and a-half. “The couch pulls out to a bed for a person to sleep comfortably, and then somebody can sleep in the recliner if they need to,” said Donna Ware, director of Planning and Design for BJC – “which is a huge benefit.”

At the expanded Siteman Cancer Center space, there are private patient rooms and accommodations for family, including areas to use computers, laundry facilities, showers, and kitchen areas for visitors, as well as quiet areas overlooking Forest Park.

“The thing I think is best is the patient-centeredness and the integration of technology,” said Tim Eberlein, M.D., director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center and surgeon-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “A lot of that you don’t see if, but you experience it if you are a patient. When you walk in, it’s not about me, the doctor. It’s about you, the patient.”

The televisions serve as communication and information hubs, to order meals, and to receive patient education prior to discharge. Through employee badges, patients will always know who is coming into their room and who is talking to them. Their picture also will appear on the TV screen.

“The communication is much more direct and focused, and it will be much better for the patients,” said Dr.  Eberlein, who is the Bixby Professor of Surgery, chair of the surgery department, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine.

He said one of the big advantages of the new building is the consolidation of cancer treatment.

“The operating rooms, colorectal, GYN, urology and endocrine sarcoma, melanoma, head and neck, all that will be done here,” Dr. Eberlein said. “And the patients will be where our medical oncology patients are currently. When medical oncology moves into this building, then we’ll renovate the Schoenberg Pavilion, and then cancer will be the dominant component of the north campus.”

He said there are also some plans to move things around in the nearby Center for Advanced Medicine to expand outpatient cancer services.

“If you are a patient, if you are a family member and you come in and you have an outpatient visit, and they say, ‘We should admit you into the hospital,’ it’s going to be a whole lot easier than the north-south kind of thing that had been going on,” Eberlein said. “That’s a byproduct of what has happened with consolidating cancer care here.”

Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s new 12-story Parkview Tower is 558,000 square feet with 406 parking spaces. It includes 160 private rooms and 10 bone marrow transplant ICU beds, patient exercise rooms in the Siteman Cancer Center space. It has 52 obstetrics inpatient beds, 18 labor and delivery rooms, 12 women’s assessment rooms, two cesarean-section rooms and one fetal surgery operating room in the Woman and Infants Center space. Other space for adult patients includes 15 inpatient ICU beds, 12 operating rooms, and five interventional rooms.

The 12-story St. Louis Children’s Hospital expansion is 222,000 square feet, with 96 pediatric beds and 40 private neonatal intensive care unit beds connected to the labor and delivery area in Parkview Tower via a pedestrian bridge. It adds space for other pediatric services, including intensive care and bone marrow transplantation, a new ambulatory procedure center, helipad, an ECMO technology elevator and a second Ronald McDonald Family Room.

Medical oncology patients began moving into the new Siteman Cancer Center space the weekend of February 3, and patients are moving into the Women and Infants area this weekend February 10.

The old areas will be redesigned as single patient rooms, where possible, and lodging for out of town guests.  

“Siteman is unique in that we actually care for patients from all 50 states, so if you are from a long distance away, you’re not going to have the opportunity to say, ‘I’m going to go home and change clothes, take a shower, then come back,’” Eberlein said. “And not all of our patients can pay for all those kinds of amenities.”

Dr. Eberlein said a $10 million Hope Lodge fundraising project with the American Cancer Society will fund that project.

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