Norton Expansion Right On Track: State Of The Art Facility To Open By 2015

By ASHLEY ANDERSON
Staff Writer
The Voice-Tribune

While standing inside Norton Suburban Hospital, you’d likely never suspect the facility has been undergoing construction to complete an unprecedented $89.7 million expansion project. But, in fact, the leading provider of health care is hard at work, nearing the half-way point of its initiative to transform the 373-bed Norton Suburban into Norton Women’s Hospital and Kosair Children’s Hospital – St. Matthews.

As building and renovation at the fully-functioning facility continues, the staff at Norton has gone above and beyond to ensure current patients receive superior care without interruption or discomfort. Since the official ground breaking on the project in September of last year, Norton has added new amenities, such as free valet service to help with the flow of traffic and the distribution of patient “quiet kits,” which include eye covers, ear plugs and iPods to eliminate noise. Though some areas of the hospital occasionally experience the hum of a drill or knock of a hammer, for the most part, construction is out of sight and mind.

The Norton Women’s Hospital and Kosair Children’s Hospital – St. Matthews will tack on an additional 136,000 square feet to a nearly 500,000-square-foot facility. “This is a place you can bring the whole family,” said Charlotte Ipsan, president of Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital. “We really learned the model at Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Kosair Children’s Medical Center for what folks needed and wanted there.”

Around 2005, the Norton Board of Trustees and executive leadership sought a new way to keep Norton Healthcare on the cutting edge. With women making approximately 80 percent of health care decisions for their families, the idea to create a women’s hospital emerged at the forefront, as did the need to help more children in the area. “If you look at the five zip codes surrounding this facility, there’s 18,000 children that are (ages) zero to 17, a huge part of the market that we weren’t serving in the community,” Ipsan explained.

With about eight months of construction left, the redesigned hospital will provide innovative care dedicated to the unique needs of women and children. Once complete, the women’s component of services will be named Norton Women’s, while the pediatric component will be called Kosair Children’s Hospital – St. Matthews.  The campus surrounding the hospital will also receive a new name at the time of transition: Norton Healthcare – St. Matthews Campus.

Although the facility emphasizes the care of women and children, it will continue to offer emergency, inpatient and outpatient care to men, and the emergency department at the new hospital will treat all medical emergencies, regardless of gender.

The official unveiling of Norton Women’s Hospital and Kosair Children’s Hospital – St. Matthews is expected for the end of 2014 or early 2015. The new hospital will feature a renovated adult-service emergency department and a new, expanded pediatric emergency department, along with renovated operating rooms, including two new adult operating rooms (ORs) and four pediatric ORs, a redesigned 40-bed neonatal intensive care unit and a new 14-bed intensive care unit for adults. An inpatient migraine treatment unit, inpatient eating disorders clinic, one-stop breast health center and a redesigned public concourse for easier access to food, retail, pastoral care and outpatient services are among other top-notch services and spaces to be added. Additionally, all patient rooms will be private and more spacious, and a three-story glass façade will be installed above the emergency department entrance to provide enhanced space for emergency services. “The current environment is just too small, so everything we did was trying to think of how we can make it better for patients and their families,” Ipsan said.

The new focus and hospital renovation will enable the specialists of Norton Healthcare to provide the highest level of quality patient care in a state-of-the-art facility that promotes a sense of healing in a family-centered environment. Ipsan and Lynnie Meyer, executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, worked together to determine what type of changes should be made to the new hospital, finding inspiration from more than 20 other health care sites around the country.

“Two years ago now, (Lynnie Meyer and I) started out there to (see) what would it take,” Ipsan said. “Where’s the leader in care, and what does that look like? And quite honestly, both of us are nurses, so we can see something and go, ‘Let’s kick it up a notch, and what about this?’ … We think we’ve developed something that people are going to say, ‘This is a world-class facility. We want to go see what they did in Louisville, Ky.’”

Norton Healthcare provides care at more than 125 locations across the Louisville area and Southern Indiana. Its network includes five Louisville hospitals with more than 1,800 licensed beds, five outpatient centers and 12 immediate-care centers. For more information on Norton Women’s Hospital and Kosair Children’s Hospital – St. Matthews, visit www.nortonhealthcare.com.

Contact writer Ashley Anderson at aanderson@voice-tribune.com, 502.498.2051.

Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune