Southern District Health Board - Intensive Care Unit Redevelopment

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The new intensive care unit is of significance, not only to the wider Dunedin community but also for the staff working within the unit.

The new intensive care unit is of significance, not only to the wider Dunedin community but also for the staff working within the unit.

The ICU / HDU units at Dunedin Hospital had not been refurbished or upgraded since its completion in 1980. Therefore, this project is of significance not only to the wider Dunedin community but also for the staff working within the unit.

Almost doubling from its current 12 beds to 22 beds, the unit encompasses the entire northern wing of the fifth floor. Designed to provide improved access to services, this project also allows for further teaching opportunities, by ways of advanced technology within a dedicated simulation room.

The key elements in the brief were:

  • To optimise staff abilities to care for critically ill patients
  • Speed up recovery times for patients
  • Increase patient privacy
  • Decrease unit noise levels
  • Increase natural light for patients and staff
  • Increase staff to patient lines of sight

The unit is split in half to allow for a staged construction build, with each unit having eleven patient beds, and as a whole containing two positive pressure ventilation lobby (PPVL) isolation rooms, two negative pressure isolation rooms and two segregation rooms. There is office space for all 30+ staff and two centralised nurse stations with optimal sight lines to patient bays whilst working within the constraints of the existing structure.

The construction was split into three stages to provide the least amount of disruptions to staff, patient and visitors, both on the fifth floor and the floors immediately above and below.

The design was established within the existing structure, incorporating large concrete columns and deep beams. Level 5 of the ward block was completely gutted of existing facilities including the removal of redundant services and relocation of in-use services, which required careful consideration and planning to minimise disruption to the rest of the hospital through a series of shutdowns. 

The new facility is hugely beneficial to the Dunedin public and the wider Dunedin district, at a patient, visitor and staffing level. The unit provides increased levels of natural light, noise reduction aspects, increased levels of infection control, improved patient, visitor and staffing flows - all of which aid in increasing recovery times. The facility is able to function more efficiently with increased room sizes and available beds.

“The existing ICU unit was small, cramped and noisy. The newly designed unit is light, breezy, offering a lot of natural light with more spaces and more privacy. A lot of thought has gone into meeting the privacy needs of the patients and keeping noise down, providing a better, more healing environment for our patients.” -  Shayne Wylie, ICU charge nurse manager.

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