[meet] Via Christi’s New West Campus
Over the past few years, the west side of Wichita has seen an influx of minor emergency centers and specialty doctors. Take a drive around the west side and you’ll find dentists and orthodontists a-plenty. Now, we have a new hospital: Via Christi Hospital on W. St. Teresa.
Just past the Northwest YMCA, off 21st Street, Via Christi West sits on 120 acres surrounded by open pastures, overlooking the Mohr family barn, listed on the National Register Of Historic Places. The location will appeal to rural patients who don’t want to come to the “big city,” yet it’s still close enough to serve Wichita, Maize, Goddard, Clearwater and beyond.
Recently I had an opportunity to tour the new hospital. From an immediate aesthetic perspective, the first thing I noticed about the hospital was, well, it didn’t feel like a hospital. From the lobby to the third floor, large windows bathe the facility in sunshine, letting natural light fill the space. Using a new biophilic concept, the hospital is decorated with natural materials and better acoustics, all designed to make the patient feel more comfortable.
Currently the hospital has 68 private rooms and 4 ICU rooms, with plans to expand in the future. Inpatient amenities include nonstick flooring in the bathroom, high-tech beds that can automatically weigh patients, and hospital meals made to order within 30 minutes. One of the best features of the room has to be the multi-function remote control. In addition to classic functions like adjusting television volume and bed position, the new remotes open and close window blinds and with the push of a button, allow patients to call their nurse for specific reasons such as bathroom, pain medication, etc. Tying the remote features to smartphones allows nurses to prioritize patient needs.
In addition to a private OBGYN clinic, the hospital’s New Life Center boasts four labor and delivery suites, C-section room, mom/baby recovery rooms with queen-sized beds and a small, though well-equipped, pediatric NICU.
While touring Via Christi West, it’s easy to see a common-sense approach was taken in the design. The areas seem to flow seamlessly from one unit to the next, particularly around the emergency room. The emergency area is flanked on each side by full-service laboratory and imaging departments. Patients who require further testing or diagnostic studies need only walk a few feet rather than combing a large area or leaving the floor entirely.
My favorite part of the tour was the operating room. I’ve been inside a few on occasion as a patient and just outside a few as a worried mama, but I’ve never had a chance to stand inside one for the sole purpose of education. A member of the OR team was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy afternoon to share a few details with me.
Each operating room has its own intranet router, allowing vital patient information to be projected on large, high-definition monitors located throughout the room. This new technology is especially handy when a second opinion is needed. Information can be shared from one operating room to another. The surgeon giving the second opinion never has to scrub-out or leave the patient he’s working on. Other innovations include using LED lights to spotlight the surgical field rather than halogen lights, which often become hot enough to change the patient’s core temperature.
On the subject of lights, visiting surgeons will notice a green hue in the Via Christi West operating rooms. During surgery, a soft green light is used to bathe the room, cutting down on glare while allowing other operating room personnel to walk around without fear of bumping or tripping in a darkened room.
The new Via Christi on West St. Teresa is a nice mix of intimate care and high-tech innovation. The hospital is open to the public in August. For more information including directions, physicians and other detailed information, visit the Via Christi website.
(Image courtesy of Maria Loving)