By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anastasia Puscian, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego's (NMCSD) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the official opening of the new Combat and Poly Trauma Care Unit for wounded and injured service members Aug. 10, 2011.
During the opening remarks Commander, NMCSD, Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison, III noted how proud and thankful he is to everyone who was involved in making the new ward a reality.
"This ward is a team effort of commitment and caring for Wounded Warriors to ensure that we can provide them the very best care that a grateful nationcan offer while also ensuring that those Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers from this area or the west coast have the option to get that care as close to their families, friends, and units on the West Coast as possible. On behalf of every wounded warrior, every patient and every family member who will benefit from this ward and all the care that willoccur here, let me say for them to you 'thank you."
The ward encompasses many aspects of care that are needed for service members who are wounded, ill or injured while on active duty and need inpatient care. There is a new Physical and Occupational Therapy room embedded on the ward, which patients can utilize while still inpatient with the goal of starting rehabilitation as soon as possible after surgery.
Previously, patients were being treated on one of the four medical-surgical wards and had to be transported to Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy appointments in another building of the hospital.
"It was a little difficult to do that on Four East," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Beale, Division Officer of Four East and Five West. "We were able to do it, but it was in bits and pieces; there were people constantly coming and going, there were a lot of moving parts to make all those things happen for those guys."
NMCSD renovated the hospital's contingency ward Five West, which was historically a space reserved as an area to open up when the demand for inpatient services increased. Coordination of care has improved by cohorting this patient population. Patient's and their families have access to all support services that NMCSD provides including social work and case manager support to help in the recovery process.
"We wanted to bring a sense of unity and team and to provide these service members with a one stop-shop. We wanted to bring everything to them," said Beale.
Renovations for the new ward took approximately nine months and $500,000 to complete. Along with simple upgrades to include new paint, lighting, televisions, and medical equipment, two new lounges were added. One of the lounges is geared to accommodate patients and families with children, and the other primarily for patients. The lounges are outfitted with custom furniture, a flat screen TV and a gaming system. The patient lounge, also called the 'warrior lounge' is furnished the same but has an additional game table that converts into a bumper pool table.
Renovations to the patient rooms brought a modern and home like feel. Each patient room has a 42 inch flat screen TV that is wi-fi capable. Patients are able to do any type of media browsing or watch a movie on Netflix from the comfort of their bed.
"It's definitely better up here, I like being up here with the TV and everything, it makes time go by a lot faster," said Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Newman. "I got to get on facebook for the first time since I was in Afghanistan, so that was pretty cool. Up here it kinda feels homey."
The single patient rooms make it more comfortable for family members to stay in the room with their loved one for a long period of time. A fold out couch and lounge chair with a foot rest were added to help family members feel more comfortable while their service member is receiving care.
"The type of relationship I have with my husband, I like to be with him all of the time. Just having four doctors in the old room made it feel cramped," said Nicole Gauthier, wife of Marine Cpl. Max Gauthier. "We also have more visitors up here; they bring us food and gifts and visit with therapy dogs. They do the little things that brighten our day."
On Aug. 2, 2011 at 1 p.m., NMCSD's staff moved all eight of the inpatient wounded, ill and injured from Operation Enduring Freedom from wards Four East and West to the new ward on the fifth floor, Five West.
"The entire evolution took one hour and 15 minutes," said Beale. "We had movement teams that were very well thought out, planned and coordinated. There were no disruptions in care what so ever; patient movement went smoothly and without a hitch. Not a single beat was missed."
Currently the bed capacity is 10, with each patient having a private room. There is expansion capacity up to 17 to accommodate an increase of patients. If needed in an emergency, the bed capacity could expand to 24.
For more information on NMCSD visit: https://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Pages/default.aspx