Gynecologic Cancer Unit Relocates to Improve Patient Experience

Feb. 1, 2011 – Patients hospitalized in the new gynecologic oncology unit at the Siteman Cancer Center and Barnes-Jewish Hospital can touch a screen in their rooms and see a photo of their nurse for that day. Touch the screen again, and they can watch a video about how to care for their condition.

These features are among the many technology and safety improvements incorporated into the unit, which moved to a new location within the hospital in November 2010. The unit houses women treated for gynecologic cancers and those undergoing gynecologic surgery.

Most noticeable to patients, rooms in the new unit have updated bathrooms and attractive, functional décor that helps ease the stress of being in the hospital.

“The bathrooms are spa-like,” says Marilyn Russell, clinical nurse manager for the unit. “They are made with beautiful materials, and the showers all have seats and moveable showerheads to cater to our patients.”

The art and décor was chosen by Becki Jacoby, facilities administration project manager, and Sarah Colby, who runs the Arts + Healthcare program, which is funded by the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation. Colby installed magnetic “expression boards” that allow patients to express themselves.

“Patients can write messages to the staff or use it to communicate with visitors who come while they are out of the room,” Colby says.

The unit also offers:

  • Two state-of-the-art bariatric rooms with dual patient lifts for examining severely obese women more safely
  • A 64-inch television screen near the nurses station, called a “ComBo board,” that provides information about patient status, staffing and unit census, making discharge planning easier and eliminating the need for some paper-based recordkeeping processes
  • A more infection control-friendly environment, including carpet-free floors and room-divider curtains that are easier to take down and clean
  • In-room computers and more computers in other areas of the unit for resident physicians
  • A conference room for nursing education and presentations
  • More private space for families, including a consult room that gives family members a place to talk with physicians and ask questions

Russell says the unit helps staff members do their jobs better. “The layout was designed with the nurse in mind,” she says. “Supplies and medicines are all located in the center of the unit. If you can image an “x” in the middle of a rectangle, the supplies are centrally located.”

All supplies are in color-coded bins so that even nurses visiting from other units can easily find needed items.

– By Sarah Kincade