A vision comes to fruition

Posted 6/29/09

On June 24, the Sky Ridge Spine and Total Joint Center at Sky Ridge Hospital in Lone Tree opened its operating room doors for 13 surgeries. On June …

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A vision comes to fruition


On June 24, the Sky Ridge Spine and Total Joint Center at Sky Ridge Hospital in Lone Tree opened its operating room doors for 13 surgeries. On June 25, 15 were scheduled.

A 60,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility was a conglomerated effort of leading neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons. The vision incorporated input from the hospital’s clinical team, nurses, anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, physical therapists and many others.

According to chief operation officer for Sky Ridge Hospital Susan Hicks, this project started three years ago, and all parties involved spent numerous hours and held meetings galore.

“We had many of the surgeons looking at floor plans, the patient flow, along with nurses, they all had their input,” Hicks said.

The vision of the team came down to many factors, but the underlying important theme: To create a facility that seems less like a hospital, and more inviting.

“Patients that need this type of surgery are usually here because of an elected kind of procedure,” Hicks said. “They aren’t sick.”

Hicks said if you conduct a lot of procedures with the same team, and have a dedicated operating staff and instruments in a dedicated building, the outcome will be more proficient. The wish list from surgeons and other hospital personnel included all the “bells and whistles,” Hicks said.

Among them included a large operating room, 700- square-feet, compared to the normal 525, so the staff has room to move around, which is very important, to reduce close activities that may cause infections. Of course the latest in radiographic technology was granted, monitors and navigation systems — similar to a global positioning system.

Currently the center has 10 total joint surgeons and 10 spine surgeons, conducting procedures from decompressions of the spine, spine fusions, total knee and hip replacements and many others in the first two days.

“When ‘like patients’ are on the same floor after surgery, with familiar nursing staff as well, they have more in common with each other,” Hicks added.

She said it was a “cute” sight with two patients comparing how far each other was able to walk down the hall during their first day of rehabilitation after surgery that morning.

The facility also offers joint and spine classes for the new patient so they know what to expect. A “map” of each day,0 for instance, allows patients to grasp their healing expectations after surgery.

“It is important that we set the expectations for the patient,” Hicks said.

Hicks, being in the medical field for 30 years, starting as a nurse, surgical nurse and chief nursing officer at Rose Medical Center, and joined Sky Ridge Hospital six months before it opened.

“The change over the years in technology has been incredible,” she said. “Back then we didn’t do anything with a scope. We just opened everybody up.”

With only a few days of surgeries at the new Spine and Total Joint Center, Hicks said one of the best compliments she heard was from a surgeon.

“He said ‘the building is really nice, but the whole package is spectacular.’”


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