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Hospital sets up model patient room
0211hospital 1
Northeast Georgia Medical Center has a mock-up of one of its new Braselton hospital’s rooms in the Gainesville hospital’s basement. It saves money and lets architects and craftsmen see problems before they build, said Rudy Lonergan, director of facilities development.

Northeast Georgia Health System officials don’t have to look at blueprints or artist renderings to know how patient rooms at the new Braselton hospital will look — and they certainly won’t have to wait until they’re in place.

Hospital officials have built a “mock-up” of a typical room at the 100-bed Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, which is under construction off Ga. 347 near Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway in South Hall.

The room in the basement of Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville has no power, except for lighting, or running water, but otherwise, looks nearly good to go. It has most of the essentials, including an area for visitors, bathroom and — thanks to a backlit, blown-up photograph — a window view of the South Hall countryside.

It also has been built with fine details, including the types of cabinetry, doors and flooring that could end up being used at Braselton.

“It’s always an expense to do something like this, but we have recouped that investment many times over,” said Rudy Lonergan, facilities development director for the health system.

Patient beds “consume a majority of your real estate, so you want to make sure you’ve got the bugs worked out,” he said. Making fixes “out in the field ... is many times more expensive.”

The mock-up began as a Styrofoam model and evolved into the detailed version in place now. And because its purpose is to refine what will be at the Braselton hospital, the room is ever-changing.

“When we finish this room, it will be exactly as those rooms will be in Braselton,” Lonergan said. “We will constantly refer back to this ... for colors, location of things.”

Referring to one supply area in the room, he said, “We probably tore this cabinet work out four or five times.

“We’ve had a lot of exercises with our clinicians and physicians, sizing these drawers and putting in dividers ... and locations of that,” Lonergan said. “There’s a lot of time spent on these things.”

The room has many features, including an observation area outside the room for nurses to peer into the room without entering it. Also, the rooms have cabinets for supplies and laundry hampers that can be accessed from inside or outside the room.

“You don’t have to go into the room and disturb the patient,” Lonergan said.

Rooms will have a 42-inch flat-screen TV and an area for visitors, including a recliner, and a bench that can serve as a bed for overnight guests.

The mock-up room has a lot of visitors of its own.

“We’ve had a lot of focus work groups around the clinical areas,” said Melissa Tymchuk, health system spokeswoman. “It’s been a really focused operational process to get them in the room and allow them (to) help design it.”

Otherwise, work is moving steadily along at River Place campus, the 110-acre site of the $187.4 million Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, which will include a medical office building, patient wings and an emergency room. A road also will encircle the building.

In another unique move, 70 bathroom pods were prebuilt in a warehouse in Hoschton, then taken to the construction site.

“This preconstruction process ... allows for greater standardization of the construction process, in a controlled environment, versus stick-building the units one piece at a time on the site,” said Anthony Williamson, the health system’s vice president of Greater Braselton development.

The new hospital is scheduled to open in spring 2015, providing heart and vascular services, orthopedics and neurosciences, cancer treatment, surgery and emergency care.

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