Early 2020 has brought transformative changes to Chester County Hospital’s (CCH) campus, all geared toward creating an even better experience for the families, friends, and neighbors who rely on the hospital for care. 

On January 27, the hospital opened the doors to its new Pavilion. This 250,000-square-foot expansion is the largest in the hospital’s history and is the next step in providing the community with access to the most advanced health care close to home whenever possible. By late spring, Chester County Hospital will be the largest hospital in Chester County, with 301 licensed beds. And by the end of the year, a 26,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of the hospital's Emergency Department (ED) will be completed, with enhanced security features and specialized exam rooms.

“Our new facility allows us to provide a level of care that is unique to the suburbs,” said Michael J. Duncan, president and CEO of CCH. “Now we can offer more high-tech, high-intensity services and care for 90 percent of our community members, locally. Should a patient be best served by going into the city, the shared Penn Medicine electronic health record allows for seamless care.”

The expansion comes on the heels of years of growth in the area’s health care needs.  Indeed, from FY2015 to FY2019, cardiac catheterizations at CCH increased  9 percent, cardiac surgeries increased more than 25 percent, and orthopedic surgeries rose 32 percent. In addition, two out of three babies born in Chester County are delivered at CCH. Couple that with the fact that Chester County is the fastest-growing county in the region and is expected to add more than 146,000 new residents by 2045. “To plan for the future is to accommodate anticipated growth,” Duncan said.


Safe and Healing Spaces

The new main entrance offers an abundance of natural light. “People love Chester County because of its natural beauty. So we intentionally wanted to maximize this while designing the Pavilion,” Duncan said. “It’s a healing structure and this aesthetic was important to us.”

But this is only the beginning. The renovation and expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department — which is still in progress — is a vital component of the new facility.

When visitors first enter the new ED, they will notice newly enhanced security measures, including a metal detector, X-ray bag screening, and security staff on duty 24 hours a day. The hospital is the first in Chester County to take this step, a decision made to maximize the safety of patients and families, given recent tragic events happening in public spaces throughout the country — including hospitals and health care facilities. “We know that 75 percent of workplace violence incidents take place in health care settings so this is something we felt we needed to do,” said Darren Girardeau, MSN, director of Emergency Services, Transport, and Radiology Nursing. 

During its renovation, the ED will continue to operate with approximately 30 beds which is in line with the hospital’s current capacity. Once its renovation is completed, there will be 43 private rooms to better meet community demand. In addition, there will be a dedicated elevator and staircase that connect the ED to the Knauer Family Lobby, allowing loved ones to access the Bistro, Gift Shop, Outpatient Pharmacy, and courtyard.


Spring Growth Ahead

In late spring, the hospital will begin welcoming patients into the new Procedural Suite, with 15 new operating rooms, a post-anesthesia care unit, and new Prep/Recovery areas.

The suite will revolutionize the surgical experience for care teams, patients, and families. Larger ORs will accommodate accommodate today’s advanced technology, including robotic assistance equipment mounted on overhead booms, imaging, and multiple 70-inch monitors that help the team visualize procedures, share real-time information about the patient, and collaborate more effectively.

Three rooms will be designated for cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology while two neighboring cardiovascular ORs will be used for more extensive procedures. Their proximity is intentional so that heart and vascular teams can collaborate more easily.  Another key feature of the expansion is the new hybrid operating room which allows for some of the most complex, minimally invasive cardiac, vascular and neurovascular procedures that just 10 years ago would have been very difficult, or, in some cases, impossible. “The hybrid OR lends itself to minimally invasive procedures, which usually means a quicker recovery time for patients and less time spent in the hospital," said Michael Barber, SVP and COO of Chester County Hospital. The remaining 10 ORs are similarly designed and grouped by specialty, enhancing process flow.

Family members and friends can wait in a light-filled lounge that features a variety of seating and stations for charging laptops, phones, and tablets. There are also private areas where loved ones can meet with members of the surgical team.

New patient rooms will open in the Pavilion’s Patient Tower will open the same time as the Procedural Suites, including a  a new intensive care unit with 24 beds on the second floor. Each room will have a large panel of windows facing either the landscaped entry court or a new green roof — the hospital’s second —which contributed to the facility’s LEED Silver green building certification.

Exciting changes are, indeed, coming, but what will not change is what Duncan calls the hospital’s “secret sauce” — its culture.  “We will have a facility that matches our reputation and allows us to grow. But we are focused on taking our culture into the new space,” he said. “This will further enhance the intimate, personal, and healing experience we are so thrilled to deliver to our community.”

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