August 21st, 2013

Butler to open new Patient Care Center

Rhode Island’s largest psychiatric hospital will add 26 new adult inpatient beds to its capacity with the scheduled October 1 opening of a new 49,000 square-foot Patient Care Center.

The new beds will increase Butler Hospital’s current licensed 117-bed capacity to 143. But for the last several years, Butler has had to receive a waiver from the state health department to go above its current licensed capacity.

“We have been very full. It is very hard to get a bed here,” says Lisa B. Shea, M.D., deputy medical director, quality & regulation.

In 2009, Butler saw a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of patients seeking care over 2008. Butler submitted a certificate of need application to the state health department for the new Patient Care Center in January 2010 after weighing options for either expanding its Providence East Side campus with sweeping views of the Seekonk River or selling it and building a new hospital facility. A market evaluation found the sale and new construction option elsewhere was not viable with the economic downturn.

The $16 million new building and connector that broke ground last April was designed by David Tidwell, of the Providence architectural firm Yoder + Tidwell Ltd. The general contractor is Warwick-based E.W. Burman.

The new inpatient unit will create 30 new positions including nurses and mental health workers.

“The way the building’s laid out, it’s just beautiful. There are spectacular views of the river and a lot of natural light. The unit was designed so that the patient areas had the water view,” Shea says.

Shea says Butler involved its Patient Family Advisory Council in designing the new facility and as a result, new patient rooms will have two sinks.

“We really involved them in helping us think about what is healing and therapeutic for patients when they’re here and if they could have things be the best way, how would they want it,” Shea says. “The one thing that they suggested was that they didn’t actually mind having a roommate. They sometimes found that was helpful but that they wanted to have their own sink. In the old units, each room has a bathroom but people have to share the sink. In the new unit, it’s a double vanity.”

The project will double the size of Butler’s Patient Assessment Services Center off the main lobby entrance, providing a separate waiting area for highly agitated patients and greater privacy.

“It’s not uncommon for us to be evaluating 50 to 60 patients per day. There’s not enough space,” she explains. “There’s not a separate area for them (patients having more acute symptoms) to be in. There’s activity. It can be noisy.”

Shea adds the Patient Care Center will house a new electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) suite “that is going to allow greater privacy and allow family members and caregivers to be able to remain with their loved ones while they are getting ready for the procedure and during the recovery process.”

Butler obtained $10 million in financing for the new Patient Care Center and is conducting fundraising efforts for the remaining funds.

By Janine Weisman

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