At 6:30 a.m., 13-month-old Pierson Spice and his parents, Nathan and Erica, of Copley, were the very first patient family to arrive at our new GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center when it opened today.
Their arrival was quickly followed by the families of 2-year-old Declan Phelps, of Kent, and 11-month-old Luka Tarr, of Vienna, who experienced firsthand the family-friendly, thoughtful design that went into building the center, located at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Kay Jewelers Pavilion.
“Parents were involved in the layout and design of our new space to facilitate the journey from a patient’s perspective – from their first encounter at check-in to their experience with nurses, doctors and staff along the way,” said Lori Davenport, outpatient surgery center clinical coordinator. “The intuitive workflow helps patients and families feel comfortable at every step.”
Go with the flow
For both the GOJO and existing outpatient surgery areas, patients are required to schedule a pre-surgical preparation appointment within 30 days of their surgery.
At this appointment, they have medical history and physical completed, vital signs checked, lab work drawn, and paperwork completed.
The process expedites check-in on the day of surgery.
“Because of the time we save at check-in, patients now only need to arrive about 1 hour prior to surgery rather than 2 hours,” said Davenport. “For families, this extra hour at home is a big deal.”
Upon arrival, patients and families swiftly move from check-in to 1 of 7 private pre-op rooms to complete registration. In doing so, patients are moved away from common areas and into a private setting for sharing sensitive information.
The patient is then taken to an operating room while parents/caregivers go to the Lois and John Orr Waiting Room. Here, families are greeted with beautiful views of the outdoor garden while a status board keeps them informed of their child’s progress – from pre-op and surgery to recovery and discharge.
“We know families are anxious for information about their child, especially when they have to leave their side,” said Davenport. “The status board is an ideal tool because it provides up-to-the-minute progress on a patient so families can be reunited as soon as possible with their child in recovery.”
There are 14 individual recovery rooms located outside the waiting area.
“Although the rooms are private, nurses still have a clear line of sight of all patients – from one end of the space to the other,” said Davenport. “This permits staff to better monitor patients and support their team members who need assistance.”
Thanks to the center’s improved patient workflow, it also frees up time to accommodate new patients who have been on waiting lists.
The GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center will handle about 30 percent of total surgeries at Akron Children’s.
“We’re using the ASA [American Society of Anesthesiologists] physical status classification system to determine which cases come to the new center,” said Amanda Patterson, outpatient surgery center nurse manager. “This allows us to evaluate and schedule cases based on the health of a child going into surgery so we can better determine how much time each case will require.”
Separating surgeries in this manner also helps minimize delays.
“A child who has an illness or medical condition can react very differently in surgery than a child who is healthy,” said Patterson. “This is no one’s fault, but the extra time needed to care for one child can cause another child who’s waiting for surgery to become anxious or upset.”
Common surgeries handled at the GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center include tonsil and adenoid removal, ear tubes, eye surgeries, dental restorations, minor plastic surgery cases, hernia repairs and urology conditions.
The hospital’s main surgery area will accommodate higher-risk patients or those with more complicated surgeries.
The new center is projected to accept 560 surgical cases and build to about 4,500 a year or 40 cases per day.
As part of our year-long anniversary celebration, we’re telling the story of Akron Children’s through the eyes of past and present employees, doctors, donors, volunteers and patient families. We encourage you to share your own memories and stories about us.
About Suzi Schenkenberger
Suzi Schenkenberger is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. With more than 15 years experience, Suzi has written for local and national brands including GE, Diebold, Akron Children's Hospital and E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.