It took $733,000 and five years of planning, but Buffalo's VA Medical Center cut the ribbon on its new Intensive Care Unit Tuesday morning.
"It began in April 2014 and we're really doing a top-to-bottom renovation," said VA Spokeswoman Evangeline Conley, "and it's really going to make a difference in the environment for patients and certainly family members when they have this very specialized critical care for veterans."
The 15-bed, 12,000-square-foot unit for the hospital's most complex patients has not been expanded, but it now has a completely different look.
"It's definitely more reassuring, you can see it's more like a homelike area as far as paint and colors. It's not the institutionalized look that you might have seen in the old days of the medical center," Conley said. "It's a lot more comforting. The aethestics are definitely more comforting and we want to be more comforted when you're in a hospital setting so that you have quicker healing time and getting back to home."
She said one of the most important things families will notice is in the waiting room.
"There's a special area that is private, so when doctors need to speak with family about the patient, they have a private area to discuss the care and treatment of the veteran," Conley said. "So that is a nice addition to this waiting area, so families will notice that."
The Bailey Avenue medical center was built in 1947. Conley said the ICU update is part of the VA's overall effort to modernize.
"Certainly when you have a building that's been in place since 1947, you do need to update throughout it's time and with medical care changing throughout the years as well, it is important to keep modernizing and updating for our patients to make sure that they reflect current care."
She said a new Modern Critical Care Documentation System also now augments the hospital's current electronic health record system, originally adopted in the late 1990s.