Landesberg: This was an incredibly challenging project. Much of this critical planning effort occurred during the frantic first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. The pandemic continued to challenge us throughout the project, from labor and supply availability challenges, to runaway inflation, to census surges at the hospital that impacted access to certain areas at various times. I am proud to say that, despite these issues, the project was completed on time and on budget! The operational elements took very careful consideration and our internal construction team, FCA and Butz did a remarkable job with the design, with considering viable alternatives when supplies or equipment were unavailable, and with timely buyouts. We made decisions quickly and seized on opportunities to leverage our scale.
FE: How do you feel about this new renovation? How has this enhanced the patient experience at the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center?
Landesberg: I couldn’t be more excited! I remember the excitement in the room at our original visioning sessions from several years ago, and to see that vision become a reality is an incredible feeling. I am so proud of the team that worked countless hours and brought forth incredible creativity under such difficult circumstances to execute on this plan.
We receive regular feedback from patients through Press Ganey patient experience surveys and our scores are steadily increasing. Some of the aforementioned phasing activities were vital for the safe completion of the project, but did cause some temporary inconveniences for patients that are now behind us. Given the charge to accommodate additional patient volume, we’ve grown our clinical team and access is much better for patients. All in all, we’re seeing the positive movement we expected, the program is growing, and we’re achieving what we set out to do—make better health easier for our friends and neighbors who need cancer care. Hearing the stories from our patients and knowing what an impact this facility will have on our community is incredibly rewarding.
FE: What has the reaction been like to this renovation from patients and visitors?
Landesberg: Our patients and visitors are thrilled with the new space. They appreciate how modern and open the new treatment room is, while providing privacy and comfortable visitor accommodations. The inpatient unit has gotten tremendous feedback so far from patients and families. Private rooms are a key differentiator, especially for this patient population. The rooms are beautifully appointed and have several thoughtful touches, including digital whiteboards and a lighting system that helps patients to maintain their circadian rhythm during a long hospital stay. All in all, we’re getting great feedback.
FE: What advice might you have for other facility executives or managers considering embarking on a renovation for this kind of facility?
Landesberg: It might seem obvious, but make sure to leverage the wisdom of your frontline caregivers and incorporate the voice of the patient. Our teams helped us design elements of the building that will impact their workflow, such as the layouts of each of the clinical areas and the headwalls in the treatment room and inpatient unit. Designing a space that works for staff and satisfies patients will increase engagement and retention. Also—talk about it! A project like this deserves a lot of attention. We did some fun events and media pieces to build up awareness amongst our staff and did some “behind the scenes” views of the construction zone to generate excitement. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary since the new addition opened!