A guided hospital pre-tour gave us a sneak peek of what else to expect when this state-of-the-art facility opens to its members in the Antioch-Brentwood area. If the 24-hour entrance at the Emergency Room is any indication, all Kaiser members will be pleased. There are three ER pods, housing 12 private emergency rooms each. The spacious waiting room feels more like a softly lit hotel lobby. The seats are upholstered in red and green and the walls provide a warm beige glow. Each ER room can be enclosed with glass doors and curtains, visibly accessible to a central nursing station.
According to Kaiser Permanente Staff Specialist Sharon Embrey, "Privacy improves the health and recovery of the patient."
Also on the ground floor is the decontamination area, providing isolation for chemical or hazardous materials cases. The ultra-modern Interventional Radiology Imaging Room will take CT scan images and accommodate chemotherapy treatments.
The hospital is also equipped with six in-patient operating rooms, strategically located by the Gastroenterology and Pulmonary clinics (for conditions that require urgent surgery), six ambulatory surgery rooms, and two surgical suites on the Maternity floor.
The Maternity floor boasts eight Labor-Birth-Recovery suites. The new mother gets to labor, birth and room-in with her baby in one place - no more wheeling around from one room to another. The suites are equipped with a birthing bed, a couch, a bathroom and baby bassinette hook-ups, tempting local expectant mothers to hold off birth until November.
Kaiser Permanente Communications Specialist Kathleen M. Flores points out the Level 2 Neonatal Intensive Care units, ready to receive six infants. "Now we can care for special-need infants here instead of sending them off somewhere else," she said.
What was most noticeable about the tour was the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer splendid views of Mount Diablo from just about everywhere in the hospital, simulating a quiet and resort-like ambience.
"Every patient room has a view, whether of Mount Diablo or of the Zen courtyard in the middle of the facility," said Kim Caroompas, Kaiser Media Relations Specialist. "Studies have shown that there is a definite correlation between environment and healing. This new hospital will bring in lots of natural light, relaxing landscaping. There will be lots of interplay between the outside and the inside. We used 35 different colors in the color palette - for walls, and ergonomically and partly recycled flooring - as opposed to the sterile white and green combination. This hospital will serve as a template for many hospitals to come."
Adding to the ambience of the warm interiors is impressive art, photography and needlework created by local artists - clustered ethnic children-inspired art lining the Maternity hallways; aerial photos of the Mount Diablo region adorning the surgical waiting rooms; and framed giant quilts in purple and blue hues by the specialty care services hallways.
"We paid a lot of attention to the environment of care - to the healing of the mind-body-spirit. Kaiser looks to treat the whole person," said Flores.
There will be a Community Open House for the hospital on Saturday, Nov. 3, for those interested to become Kaiser Permanente members. Call the media hotline at 925-813-6500 for more details, or visit www.kaiserpermanente.org.